Shocking death toll

16th July 2004 at 01:00
US schools are reeling from their deadliest year in a decade. The 48 violent deaths at or near schools in 2003-04 topped the previous two years' casualties combined.

The latest tragedy was the killing of a cafeteria worker at a Salt Lake City school in May, according to National School Safety and Security Services. There have also been 68 non-fatal shootings and 206 serious incidents, such as stabbings, riots, death threats and student arrests, since the school year began. "It's a microcosm of society - we have more guns than people in America," said Alan Kerstein, the Los Angeles school police chief.

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