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AFP: Fears of violence shake Mexico schools - 0 views

  • ACAPULCO, Mexico — Mexican schools appear increasingly vulnerable to the country's drug violence, with five human heads dumped outside one school and threats of a grenade attack on another in the past week alone.

    From northern border areas to Acapulco, on the Pacific coast, to the port of Veracruz, on the Gulf of Mexico, the trend has seen parents keep their children at home as both students and teachers see themselves as targets.

  • Beyond threats linked to drug gangs, violence threatening children and teachers has also occurred in recent weeks inside schools, including in northeastern Sinaloa and northern Nuevo Leon states.
  • "The community has organized itself and decided not to send children to school until we receive promises from the authorities," said Lourdes Sarabia, director of the National Union of Education Workers of Culiacan.
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  • Perhaps the biggest drama though has played out in violence-plagued Acapulco, where thousands of teachers have demonstrated and almost 200 schools in the area have been paralyzed by a month of strike action to persuade authorities to improve security amid extortion threats.
  • The fears appear excessive but are "part of the deterioration of daily life in some communities, as violence affects civilians in public places," according to Javier Oliva, an expert in security issues at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
  • Two weeks ago the government said classes would resume, after they promised to install panic buttons in schools and police patrols nearby, but the protest continued.

    Acapulco street seller Elizabeth Garcia, a 26-year-old mother of two, said she felt calmer keeping her kids at home.

    "I don't know if it's better that they don't go to school, but at least I know where they are," Garcia said.

Teachers Without Borders

Poverty News Blog: An attempt to save the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juarez - 1 views

  • The Mexican town of Ciudad Juarez is one of the deadliest in the world. Controlled by two waring drug gangs and a corrupt police, the town witnesses over 3,000 murders a year.
  • Investments designed to counter the poverty and disenchantment that supply cartels with foot soldiers are injected throughout the city: parks and new high schools in some of the poorest neighborhoods, new hospitals and clinics and more police patrols in commercial districts to stop the extortion that has devastated Juarez's local economy.
  • For every high school built under Todos Somos Juarez, the city is short another.
Teachers Without Borders

Mexican children learn to take cover in drug war - AlertNet - 1 views

  • Mexican officials are teaching school children how to dive for cover if they come under fire from gangs fighting over the Pacific beach city of Acapulco as drug violence reaches deeper into everyday life.

    At a drill in an Acapulco primary school this week, instructors used toy guns that simulated the sound of real gunfire.

    "Get down, let's go!" shouted an instructor as children threw themselves on the ground in classrooms and the playground and then crawled toward safety, burying their heads in their hands.

  • Most schools in Acapulco have not yet received the training and some civic leaders prefer to play down the violence.
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