The State Congress approved an exhortation addressed to the secretary of education Gerardo Arturo Solís Benavides to instruct the directors of public primary, secondary and upper secondary schools to refrain from charging mandatory fees under the guise of being voluntary.
Deputy Sergio Moctezuma Martínez López, from Morena, warned that school fees in public schools are not only prohibited, but if they are applied, they constitute crimes that are punishable by imprisonment, which is established in the State Penal Code.
His exhortation, approved by the plenary session, has broad legal and constitutional support. The legislator mentioned that the constitutional text contemplates free education in its article 30, second paragraph, pointing out that “The State is responsible for the stewardship of education, that provided by it, in addition to being compulsory, will be universal, inclusive, public, free and secular.
At the local level, article 7 section A of the Political Constitution of the Free and Sovereign State of Baja California specifies that:
Every person has the right to practice sports, to physical culture, to enjoy an adequate environment for their development and well-being, as well as to health, the right to equality and non-discrimination; freedom of ethical convictions, conscience and religion; to receive public, compulsory and free education provided by the State, at the initial levels: preschool, primary. secondary V high school to harmoniously develop all the faculties of the human being and foster in him, at the same time, love for the Homeland, respect for Human Rights and awareness of international solidarity, independence and justice.
The public authorities of the State will do whatever is appropriate to ensure the enjoyment of these rights.
Although access to education is a human right, every school year thousands of mothers and fathers face the great difficulty of enrolling their children in schools due to the sums of money they spend on enrollment, transfers, supplies , uniforms, among other goods and services, a figure that can rise up to $5,000 pesos per student in Baja California.
Further aggravating this situation, some public schools dare to charge “mandatory fees” to mothers and fathers, threatening them that if they do not pay, their son or daughter will lose their place in school. This situation means that some students cannot continue with their studies, being an unconstitutional act and completely violating human rights.
Moctezuma Martínez then cited that the “mandatory fee” is typified as a crime in accordance with the Penal Code for the State of Baja California: He mentions Article 357.- Collection of Fees to the detriment of the Free Exercise of Public Education.- They will be imposed from six months to two years in prison and up to five hundred days of fine, to whom by himself or through an intermediary, and for the provision of public education, makes the collection of fees consisting of money with mandatory character, to preschool, basic, middle and high school public education students in the State.
Another article 358 speaks of Discrimination to the detriment of the free exercise of public education and establishes: Two to five years in prison and up to a thousand days of fine will be imposed on whoever conditions the payment of voluntary or mandatory fees, the the right to receive free public education, as well as the entrance of preschool, basic, middle and high school public education students to the schools provided by the State for this purpose.