MONTEVIDEO – Uruguayan high school teachers staged a 24-hour strike Friday to protest violence against faculty members, including an ugly incident this week in Montevideo.
To avoid hurting students, steps are being taken to reschedule examinations that had been set for Friday, Manuel Oroño, an executive of the Fenapes teachers union, told Efe.
Fenapes representatives plan to meet with officials from several government ministries in pursuit of a consensus on confronting the problem of school violence “in a different way,” he said.
“We are not asking for more repression,” Oroño said, but rather for police who are specially trained to work in the schools with an emphasis on “dialogue and prevention.”
While violence is a problem for society as a whole, “it is precisely in education where there should be more restraint, medium-term plans and projects to attack violence,” the union executive said.
Three teachers at a high school in a rough Montevideo neighborhood were assaulted Tuesday by a mob that included their own students, teenagers from other schools and “even some parents,” according to Fenapes.
The incident occurred outside the school at the end of the day as the three faculty members were trying to protect a female student following an altercation with one of her classmates.
Two of the teachers were punched in the face and the third was pushed to the ground.
Friday’s strike “is not the solution” to the problem of school violence, Interior Minister Eduardo Bonomi said.
Teachers at another Montevideo high school suspended classes last Friday after an instructor was struck by a parent.
Two weeks ago, the vice principal and another staff member at a high school in Canelones province were attacked by the parents of one student as they sought to break up a fight between the assailants’ child and another student.