EDUCATION

Chilean law to safeguard security in classrooms declared “unconstitutional”

SANTIAGO – The Aula Segura, or Safe Class project, has been declared “unconstitutional” by the Constitutional Committee of the Senate this afternoon. The law gives directors of schools and institutes the power to immediately expel students who commit acts of violence. The project was initiated after at different high schools in Chile, violent incidents had occurred involving students.

The video of a student wearing a hoodie, throwing a Molotov cocktail to a Carabinero circled around the national and social media for days. It was just another incident at the Liceo de Aplicación, a school in the center of Santiago. For weeks there had been incidents, between students or with students attacking Carabineros, who were posted permanently outside the high school. The situation at the Liceo de Aplicación became a national symbol for violence at educational institutes, something that happens way to often according to government officials.

The Ministry of Education reacted by developing the Safe Class project, Aula Segura in Spanish, that gives directors of educational institutes the immediate power to temporary suspend or permanently expel students involved in these violent acts. After president Piñera had signed the project some weeks ago, the Senate rejected the law today, stating it was “unconstitutional”.

The Constitutional Committee of the Senate said that the law doesn´t guarantee an honest process for students expelled. Marcela Cubillos, Minister of Education, doubted the Senates decision. “How is it going to be unconstitutional to expel a student who throws a molotov inside the school or sprays benzene on a teacher,” she said. “In any country of the world, these are crimes and not manifestations of “freedom of expression”.”

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