Chiapas: Conflicts between police and teachers over protest of evaluations

Choque entre magisterio y cuerpos policiales. Foto @Revolución Tres Punto Cero.Conflict between teachers and police. Photo: @Revolución Tres Punto Cero.

On 18 October took place the diagnostic exam for teachers in Chiapas, being a measure adopted to evaluate these teachers, as implemented following the educational reforms pushed by the government of Enrique Peña Nieto (EPN). According to the National Institute for the Evaluation of Education (INEE), this evaluation seeks to “contribute with professional development to assist in the elevation of quality of instruction for students and equity in educational outcomes,” though it has caused a great deal of polemic among various sectors of the magisterium, who understand it as a means of rationalizing selective dismissals. According to the Secretary for Education in Chiapas, Ricardo Aguilar Gordillo, “whoever does not take the test should have his or her job removed.”

In Ocozocuautla, access to the place for evaluation was blockaded by members of section 7 of the Union of Educational Workers (SNTE) and the National Coordination of Educational Workers (CNTE), who reject the educational reform and carried out direct actions to express their opposition.

According to Revolución Tres Punto Cero, teachers from section 7 of Chiapas “were repressed violently when they were about to begin a protest that they qualified as being peaceful, which was to be joined also by section 40.” Some testimonies denounced that units of the federal police, the gendarmerie, and the state police fired rubber-coated bullets and tear gas, and that injured teachers subsequently received no medical attention. The CNTE distanced itself from acts such as the burning of buses and attempts to burn a gas-pipe, affirming instead that “infiltrators committed arson […] and affected the vehicles belonging to the teachers; we have evidence that these were police infiltrators,” they noted, assuring that attacks from the police were defended against using only sticks and stones. According to Chiapas Paralelo, “authorities reported that three police were injured and one kidnapped by the teachers. The teachers in turn denounced that three of their comrades had been injured by rubber-coated bullets, four beaten by police, and two others arrested. Later, police and teachers exchanged ‘hostages.’” There were also reports of the destruction of two vehicles belonging to journalists who were covering the action.

Despite the attempt made by the CNTE to blockade access, some of the teachers succeeded in taking the exam. The Education Ministry reported that another date will be chosen for those who could not complete it last weekend.

For more information (in Spanish):

Maestros en Chiapas son reprimidos por PF y Gerdarmería; usaron gases lacrimógenos y bombas de goma (Revolución Tres Punto Cero, 18 de octubre de 2015)

Policías desalojan a maestros que bloqueaban carretera en Chiapas (Proceso, 18 de octubre de 2015)

Chocan CNTE y policía en Chiapas (La Jornada, 18 de octubre de 2015)

La SEP reprogramará la evaluación de maestros en Chiapas ante el boicot de la CNTE (Chiapas Paralelo, 19 de octubre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Teacher from Acapulco dies after violent repression of a protest by the Federal Police (10 March 2015)

National: Thousands of teachers march against the educational reform (4 October 2013)

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