Pupils, teacher injured in mass stabbing
STUDENTS as young as 10 were wounded while heroically trying to protect their teacher during a mass stabbing at a Russian school on Monday.
Media reports initially said two masked attackers "obsessed with the Columbine school massacre" had burst into the school and attacked pupils with knives.
But authorities in Perm, about 1126km northeast of Moscow, have now said the attack grew out of a knife fight between a former and a current pupil.
Local security authorities said in a statement that other pupils and a female teacher had tried to break up the fight.
Several were stabbed in the process - including a number of children who bravely tried to rescue the staff member.
Anna Kuznetsova, Vladimir Putin's ombudsman for children, said: "Fourth year pupils were protecting their teacher who was trying to stop older guys fighting with knives.
"Two wounded teenagers are in hospital. The teacher is in the gravest condition.
"We will figure out how armed guys made it to school and who did not respond to the situation at the site.
"Was there really no-one apart from 10-year-old children who could stop the hooligans?
"What about the school guards?"
Kuznetsova was this morning flying to the scene in the Urals to find out how the "outrageous" security lapse was able to happen.
The teacher was badly wounded and is said to be fighting for her life in hospital, where she was rushed for surgery.
The two knifemen are also understood to be among the injured after both suffered serious wounds.
One of them had been expelled from the school over drug use and mental health problems, according to sources quoted by Russia's TASS news agency.
He managed to get past security and into the building by saying he had forgotten his pass, RIA Novosti news agency reported.
A spokesman for the local investigative department told TASS: "A theory is considered that the young people had a quarrel and started fighting, and burst into a class of the fourth grade pupils where the knife fight occurred."
They added that the incident could have been triggered by a conflict on social media.