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15-year-old boy stabbed to death outside a school after authorities failed to act

Kayak v. Turkey  | 2012

15-year-old boy stabbed to death outside a school after authorities failed to act

… in the circumstances of the present case, the national authorities failed in their duty to supervise the premises of the school …

Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, July 2012

Background

In the early 2000s, a school in Elazığ was having problems outside its gates. Students were being harassed and blackmailed by gangs of young people when they tried to leave the school. The director of the school told the authorities. He asked for a guardian’s lodge to be set up outside the gates and for the police to be present on particularly difficult days. However, neither of those things was provided.

In September 2002, following a dispute 15 year-old Sedat Kayak was stabbed to death by an older student just outside the school.

Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights

The European court ruled that the authorities had a duty to protect children against violence whilst they were under school supervision. In this case, the authorities had failed in that duty – violating the right to life.  

Follow-up

A series of action plans were carried out by the Turkish government to address school violence. Measures included the following:

  • The creation of executive boards in provinces, districts and schools in charge of preventing and de-escalating violence among peers;
  • A significant nationwide increase in security officers and security checks at school entrances;
  • Annual security action plans prepared by each school, as well as psychological and social steps to tackle difficult situations.

A number of additional security measures were taken in the school where the incident took place, including having a guardian at the school gates and installing a video security system.

Sedat Kayak’s family was awarded compensation.