A kindergarten teacher in a remote village in Guanajuato is accused of sexually abusing six girls.
Ernesto “N,” known by his students as “Teacher Ernesto,” was a trainee teacher who had only arrived at the José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi kindergarten in Camino Real on March 1, but was deemed ready to teach classes alone. He allegedly abused the children after covering the windows of the classroom under the pretext of showing movies, the newspaper Reforma reported.
Mothers from the village of some 280 inhabitants became concerned about Ernesto’s unconventional teaching style but were assured by the kindergarten that his classes were educational. Suspicions of abuse surfaced after a 5-year-old girl told her mother that Ernesto had touched her.
Other parents asked their children, and their fears were confirmed: five other children also said they were abused. The 25 square meter (82 square feet) kindergarten only had a total of 18 students, from 3-6 years old.
On June 24, the victims’ mothers made a legal complaint in Silao and said their concerns had been ignored by officials at the kindergarten. That same day, Ernesto resigned.
According to education experts in the state who spoke to Reforma, it’s common for trainee teachers to teach groups alone in remote communities, a decision which rests with the administrator of the kindergarten.
An investigation was launched into Ernesto on June 27 and the administrative officials at the kindergarten have been suspended.
The Guanajuato Education Ministry (SEG) has offered legal and psychological support to the victims and parents. A new trainee teacher was assigned to the kindergarten on July 4.
With reports from Reforma