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Iconic Costa Rican high school suspends classes following student’s death

Screenshot from video / Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ)

Repercussions have continued for Costa Rica’s iconic public high school, the Liceo de Costa Rica, following last week’s tragic student death.

On Wednesday, Feb. 28, 12-year-old student Sebastián Díaz stepped in front of the train near Plaza Víquez in downtown San José and died from the injuries he sustained; subsequent days saw extensive discussion in the press and social media of possible bullying and alleged “challenges” set for younger students by their older peers at the all-boys institution. Sonia Marta Mora, the Public Education Ministry, told the daily La Nación this week that the ministry had chosen to suspend classes at the school for at least one week in order to carry out an investigation at the school.

Simultaneously, an investigation by the Costa Rican Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) is being carried out to determine the causes of the accident, including review of videos of the incident to determine whether the student was coerced to step in front of the train.

“According to the preliminary investigations we’ve conducted, we can indicate that we have no evidence whatsoever that illustrates the existence of pressures directed against the deceased person at the moment of the event. I’d like to clarify as well that we have to do a retrospective investigation to know whether there was some type of pressure,” OIJ Director Walter Espinoza said at a press conference on Monday.

“At the moment, with the people we’ve interviewed, with the people we’ve had access to and with the videos we’ve observed, we can tell you no [pressures have been proved] at that moment. However, we do not discard the posibility because the investigation has to continue,” Espinoza said in a video of the conference released by the OIJ.

Watch the full video of the declarations here: