Sabana de Torres School, with 4,500 students, completes ten days of strike

yesThere are multiple and complex situations that led to students from the Madre la Esperanza Integrated School in the municipality of Sabana de Torres (Santander) beginning an indefinite cessation of activities for ten days. Among the situations that have motivated the protest, to which parents have already joined, is the dismal state of the educational infrastructure, the lack of teachers and complaints of alleged sexual harassment against the rector.

Juliana Luna, school official, assures that to date the Departmental Secretary of Education has not assigned fourteen teachers, which is seriously affecting the development of school activities, “we need a total of 14 teachers , counting the venues and this is something that has been affecting us because many students cannot receive their classes as a result of it, sometimes they are even sent home early because there are no teachers,” said the student leader.

Given this situation, which was already exposed in the Departmental Assembly, the Secretary of Education reported that the missing teachers will arrive during the month of October.

But this is not the only nonconformity that the students have, because in the list of petitions that they have already filed with the dependency, they demand that there should finally be improvements in the educational infrastructure, “the school for more than ten years has not been given a real investment, the bathrooms are horrible, there are no sinks, the ones that are there are useless. The rooms are cracked and we have had situations where the fans have fallen, the floor has risen; all the venues have poor infrastructure, it is time that they remember this institution”, said Coraima Quiñónez, student representative.

They demand the departure of the rector

The departure of the rector of the educational institution is a non-negotiable point for the group of students and parents who are in cessation of activities. The complaints against the official range from allegations of alleged sexual harassment to alleged mismanagement of resources.

“There are alleged mishandling of resources. The rector has not invested in this institution, we looking at the accounts from 2020 to 2022 to the school only in income from the government more than 800 million pesos arrived and you look at the venues and it looks like an abandoned school; Added to this are alleged cases of sexual abuse against mothers, but also students. There is a formal complaint and we have four more in the process that are going to file a formal complaint,” said a student.

Faced with this point, the Secretary of Education of Santander has said that it is already looking for a way to relocate the rector. “The strike does not stop because the rector has not left,” said the protesters.

The petitions established by the students in order to put an end to the strike consist of the removal of the rector and “the opening of an investigation for the alleged commission of some crimes”; investment in educational infrastructure, the assignment of teachers and the creation of a citizen oversight office to control and monitor the resources received by the school.

More than 4,500 students receive classes at the Madre la Esperanza Integrated School in Sabana de Torres.

principal responds

Ramiro Correa Ortiz, who has been rector of the institution for more than 17 years, assured that until now he has not been notified by the justice in the face of any complaint for the mismanagement of resources, or for sexual harassment.

“The complaints of mismanagement are from every year and finally who defines whether or not there is mismanagement, are the control entities and we are audited by the Comptroller General of the Nation and they also audit the department’s accounting. (…) Investments have been made in the institution, we should have done it to return to attendance, what happens is that unscrupulous people damaged what we had done to show that there was no investment”, said the rector.

And he added that, if the demonstrators have any objections, they should file complaints with the competent entities, “they play with my integrity and safety, I am ready to respond to the competent authorities; if they have to file a complaint, report it, show evidence and I will respond to justice”, he said.

And he pointed out that he has already informed the departmental Secretary of Education of his willingness to be relocated to another campus.

Sabana de Torres School, with 4,500 students, completes ten days of strike