Piñera signs ‘Safe Classroom” bill to protect student, teacher rights

Aula Segura

SANTIAGO – President Sebastián Piñera has signed the Aula Segura “Safe Classroom” bill, which seeks to increase the powers of the authorities of establishments for taking punitive decisions and protect teachers and the school community from violence.

The initiative was motivated by the recent violent demonstrations at high schools like the National Institute in the capital Santiago, where students clashed with the police.


Added to this are the cases of aggression against teachers who have been beaten by parents, and even been sprayed with benzene by students in classrooms.

“The message is very clear: we tell all our compatriots, our Government is committed to the quality of education of each and every one of our children and young people, with the dignity and integrity that deserves the whole school community, but will persecute with all the force of the law those criminals and violators who, disguise as students, without respecting anything or anyone, intend to cause a climate of terror inside our educational establishments,” the President said.

Piñera explained that “currently, you can only expel and cancel the registration when the facts are contemplated in the internal regulations of the establishment and under a procedure that lasts at least 25 working days, without the possibility of separating the student from the educational community that was victim of acts of violence.”

The project allows:

Strengthen the faculties of the director in terms of expulsion and cancellation of enrollment in serious cases of violence in the classroom.
– Causes will be established that, due to their seriousness, do not require a prior modification of internal regulations for their application.
– The project seeks to harmonize three fundamental rights: right to physical and mental integrity of the members of the educational community, right to due process and right to education of the sanctioned student.

The mayor of Santiago, Felipe Alessandri described these acts as of “terrorism” and requested “that the feeling of impunity does not continue to exist and that for this there is the possibility of expelling students as in any private school”.

The Councilor of Santiago, Rosario Carvajal has also condemned the violence, however, stated that “the worrying thing is that condemnable acts of violence justify changing the manuals of coexistence, since these instruments are generated to develop a healthy culture within the actors of the educational community and those acts of violence escape any manual of coexistence, because they are criminal matters for which there is a legal framework that sanctions and punishes acts of this nature. Starting to mix these instruments that have different objectives seems inappropriate.”

What the councilor of the Santiago commune proposes, unlike the Mayor, is that progress be made in developing a democratic dialogue between students and professors, that demands be heard and that student organizations not be classified as violent in general, because he continues to see it as a small part of the student body.

For this reason, Rosario Carvajal stated that “we must take preventive measures from educational projects and we must strengthen the democratic senses of conflict resolution, because what is worrying is that people believe that violence is a way to solve problems.”

The councilor was concerned about the possibility of “criminalizing the student movement and any social movement and that this be used as an excuse to justify the repression and abuse of power by the police.”

For his part, the president of the Metropolitan Teachers’ Association, Carlos Díaz Marchant, said that “we have been saying for a long time that Chilean education is in crisis, we have to do curricular reviews, review procedures, methodologies and study programs. Until when are we going to continue insisting that students have to be filled with knowledge? While the question is what kind of people we want to form. ”

To which he added that “violence is a result of market education, which seeks to standardize students with tests and make professors compete.”