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Ind. Teen Slashes Five Classmates

A student carrying a machete and another knife slashed five classmates Wednesday morning as they watched a Spanish class video, authorities said.

Eight Valparaiso High School students were taken to the hospital, including the accused attacker, a 15-year-old freshman, Police Chief Michael Brickner said. All but one of those injured were released by Wednesday afternoon, he said. Five suffered cuts and the others complained of pain from other injuries, authorities said.

Authorities did not release any information about a possible motive for the attack, which happened as classes were starting at the school some 20 miles southeast of Gary.

Brickner said that before carrying out the attack, the student asked his teacher for permission to close the classroom door. He shut the door and then started swinging the weapons at his classmates, the police chief said.

"Students began to flee from the classroom, and he fled from the classroom and was tackled to the floor by school faculty members," he said.

Students described a chaotic struggle in a hallway and said they saw blood on the floor.

"The kid, after he stabbed them, he ran out of the room and a bunch of teachers tackled him," sophomore Clark Hogan said. "I saw the lady kick the knife down the hallway. She kicked it against the wall."

Brickner said one of the knives was a machete and the other was a serrated knife. The youth accused in the attack remained in custody.

School Superintendent Michael Benway said the school does not have metal detectors but that school staffers and volunteers monitor the two doors through which the school's 2,000 students enter the building.

"We're not sure exactly how he got them into school," Brickner said.

The boy is an A-B student who started in the Valparaiso school system this year, Brickner said. "I think it's accurate to say that when the teachers learned who this student was, they were very surprised," he said.

The uninjured students were allowed to leave school about 3½ hours after the attack. Until then, they said, they were kept locked in their classrooms.

"The teachers wouldn't tell us what was going on," said Danielle Boer. "We were scared."
By Tom Coyne