A study by the Human Rights Commission of Guerrero has found that children are actively emulating practices that until now have been in the domain of organized crime.
The revealing report based its findings on data provided by the state Education Secretariat (SEG), said human rights commissioner Ramón Navarrete Magdaleno.
According to SEG officials, extortion, bullying and acts of violence among students from all levels — from preschool to secondary — are prevalent in 1,300 educational centers in 13 municipalities in the central region of the state.
The situation within the schools in cities like Acapulco is made worse by the victimization students suffer outside them, where criminal gangs operate freely.
The violence experienced in these schools has different causes depending on their location, but the document mentioned “insecurity, school harassment, crime in the area surrounding the schools, drug addiction and derecho de piso [a form of extortion].”
The information compiled by the SEG called the issue “very serious,” and proposed a comprehensive joint program by state and federal authorities, human rights representatives and the public to address it.
The program is set to be implemented in 15 schools identified as the most violent. These include the Emiliano Zapata, Domínguez Martínez and Wenceslao kindergartens located in the state capital of Chilpancingo.
The principal of a Chilpancingo secondary school that was mentioned in the report dismissed it, insisting that all violent acts occur outside the premises.
“There’s armed people outside the school that mug students when they come in or out, but authorities do nothing about security,” Atilano Cruz told the newspaper Reforma.
A professor at the same school acknowledged several isolated cases of bullying among the students, but rejected the notion that they’re charging derecho de piso.
“We have no idea of where the Education Secretariat got that report or assessment, because all we’ve noticed here is insecurity outside the premises,” said José Rojas Marrón.
He added that instead of publishing “false information,” Governor Héctor Astudillo Flores should pledge his support to the secondary school and help build a perimeter wall to keep thieves from stealing the school’s computers and chairs.