The Internado Nacional Barros Arana school (INBA) in Santiago was attacked by a group of hooded individuals on Tuesday morning, who threw a molotov cocktail into the dean’s office.
The dean was not present in the office at the time, reported La Tercera, but the group of vandals, who were hooded or wearing white overalls, reportedly threw molotov cocktails at a bus and barricaded roads around the school. As a result, classes had to be suspended and students removed from the premises. A seat of honour, some furniture and a window was damaged, and a woman had a paint bomb thrown at her face.
Nuevos hechos de violencia hoy en el INBA. Clases suspendidas y alumnos retirados del establecimiento….una vez más pierden los que quieren estudiar y trabajar en paz. #AulaSegura
— Marcela Cubillos Sigall (@mcubillossigall) 30 de octubre de 2018
“New violent events today in INBA. Classes are suspended and students have been taken out of the establishment…once more those who want to study and work in peace miss out.” Minister of Education Marcela Cubillos
According to testimonies gathered by La Tercera, part of the group were made up of INBA students, who left school premises to meet up with other individuals before returning to vandalise the area. There have been no detentions so far.
Otro ataque sin sentido contra su comunidad educativa realizan encapuchados en el #INBA. Lanzan bomba Molotov a oficina d rector, poniendo en riesgo su colegio y compañeros. Urge #AulaSegura para brindar resguardo a docentes, auxiliares, admins y alumnos que sí quieren estudiar! pic.twitter.com/56XXSR0tHJ
— Karla Rubilar B. (@KarlaEnAccion) 30 de octubre de 2018
“Hooded people carry out another senseless act against their educational community in INBA. They threw a molotov cocktail into the dean’s office, putting at risk their school and their schoolmates. I support #SafeClassroom to bring protection to teachers, assistants, administrative staff and students who want to study!” Karla Rubilar, Mayor of Santiago Metropolitan area
This is not the first case of violence carried out by students against their schools and teachers, at INBA and across the city of Santiago. A couple of weeks ago on Oct. 11 INBA students attacked a police officer, punching and kicking him when he was on the ground. The mayor of Santiago, Felipe Alessandri, told La Tercera that schools in Santiago are at the point of exploding.
“Here we have teachers that are afraid to go to work,” he said. “There are neighbours who see how urban fixtures are being destroyed, how it is party of daily life to live alongside molotov cocktails. We will restore public education, and properly. What we are experiencing is not the first time that it has happened, and as a society we have to take charge and process the Aula Segura project.”
The Aula Segura (Safe Classroom) project is a law proposal that was approved by President Sebastián Piñera on Sept. 20 which will now be voted upon in Congress. If passed, it will allow teachers to immediately expel students who are involved in serious violence.
Current legislation stipulates that the students cannot be expelled for 30 days, meaning that a teacher that may have been assaulted or insulted by a student is obliged to carry on teaching them, which Minister of Education Marcela Cubillos condemned as “inhuman and undeserved.”
Piñera also expressed his strong support for the initiative, adding that “these delinquents and violent attackers who, disguised as students, with no respect for anyone or anything, try to create a climate of terror inside our education establishments. They will be pursued with the full force of the law.”
La mayoría de los chilenos está de acuerdo con #AulaSegura ¡Es un gran paso para una educación de calidad! pic.twitter.com/S9kq0E9RDw
— Ministerio de Educación (@Mineduc) 29 de octubre de 2018
The Ministry of Education states that 70% of Chileans are behind the Aula Segura project, although investigator of violence and school coexistence, as well as an academic at the University of Santiago, Dr. Jaime Retamal, who told ProAraucania that the project should not go to Congress. He stated that it was a “smoke curtain” that doesn’t allow people to see what really matters, and that there are much more important matters to cover in terms of school and education. The Aula Segura project is currently being discussed in parliament, though it is as yet unknown when the final decision will be made public.