Human Rights Commission Opens Investigation Into Bullying That Led to Student's Death
dpera - Justice in Mexico Project
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June 8, 2014

A student protests outside of Escuela Secundaria No. 7 in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, calling for those responsible for the death of her classmate, Alejandro Méndez Ramírez, to be held accountable. (Héctor González Antonio/Excélsior)

Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, CNDH) opened an investigation into bullying and violence among adolescents in schools after the recent death of a young student in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas. Alejandro Méndez Ramírez (12) was hospitalized on May 14 after a “game” in which students were forcefully throwing each other to the floor resulted in Méndez Ramírez sustaining serious head injuries. Méndez Ramírez died on May 21 in the hospital.

The CNDH is opening an investigation because the punches sustained by Méndez Ramírez at school, Escuela Secundaria Número 7, that were provoked by the aggression of classmates were ignored and unanswered by the teacher and the deputy director on duty, both of whom have since been suspended by the Tamaulipas Secretary of Education (Secretaría de Educación Pública de Tamaulipas, SEP) while investigations into the matter are underway. This is not the only case that has fueled the CNDH response; rather, violence in Mexican schools has increased by 10% since 2011. During 2013, the CNDH issued seven recommendations to the federal Secretary of Public Education, all of which involved cases where students were victims of negligence, aggression, or violence by their teachers. Speaking on the gravity of the issue, particularly in the U.S.-Mexico Border States where bullying and violence in schools seems to be the biggest problem, one teacher from Sonora commented that the affected areas suffer from “a devastated social fabric. The kids don’t bully; they openly attack each other. They steal from each other, at recess taking food or drinks, fighting or arguing.” As quoted in a Mexico Voices’ translation, he continued, “it can’t be called bullying, it’s violence."

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