December 12, 2013
Nacional Buenos Aires students end occupation
Other 14 taken-over schools to decide on Monday
After a ten-day take-over of the Nacional Buenos Aires secondary school in protest a curricular reform, students decided yesterday to end the occupation of the establishment and return to classes on Monday after considering the action “exhausted.”
Meanwhile, an assembly at the Carlos Pellegrini school has postponed a final decision.
Another 13 occupied schools were also now locked in debate and will make a final decision on Monday.
“Naturally we are worn out after ten days sleeping in the school without taking classes. We reached a consensus to end the takeover but educational reform is ongoing and must still be halted,” explained Buenos Aires school student union president Julián Manuel Cuello.
Although the Buenos Aires City government’s reform does not touch Nacional Buenos Aires or Carlos Pellegrini’s curricula as they are both managed by the University of Buenos Aires, the two schools decided to back the other occupations.
“It’s a time of intense struggle and our decision does not involve other schools,” said Nicolás Cernadas, a Buenos Aires school student.
But he warned: “This doesn’t mean other schools will do the same”.
According to the Buenos Aires school union the next steps involve reopening talks with the national and BA city governments. Officials said they would only open negotiations if the protest was ended.
Buenos Aires City Education Minister Esteban Bullrich had confirmed the stance.
“Buenos Aires City government has made several and important investments in education, mostly in infrastructure,” said Bullrich. Bullrich said that he was ready to listen to “reasonable” claims.
The student sit-ins began on September 16 in protest against the Buenos Aires City curricular reform —part of the national accord reached in the Federal Education Council to equal all school programmes in Argentina.
On Thursday, nearly 2,000 students marched from the national Educational Ministry to the BA City education offices.
Cernadas also anticipated they would try to arrange a meeting with Buenos Aires school headmaster Gustavo Zorzolio to prevent any sanctions against protesters from being taken. They don’t rule out any course of action afterwards, depending on the outcome of the meeting.
Asked about students allegedly involved in the desecration of the San Ignacio de Loyola church during the take over, spokesmen for the protest refused to comment. Both Bullrich and Zorzoli have insisted that the students allegedly involved in the vandalism of the adjacent church must be expelled if found guilty.
Zorzoli has been summoned to court as a witness along with the San Ignacio de Loyola parish priest Francisco Baigorria.
A BA City misdemeanours court is investigating the attack.