Private schools: blackmail and psychological mistreatmen

These aggressive and often illegal practices are the consequence of the indiscriminate proliferation of private schools

Private schools: blackmail and psychological mistreatment
Education is a constitutional right in Mexico - Photo: File Photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 26/05/2019 09:31 Mexico City Editorial Actualizada 09:39
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In Mexico, some private schools have adopted extreme measures to pressure parents to pay school tuition when they fall behind with the payments; the measures include conditioning the delivery of legal documents, preventing students from entering school, denying students some activities, placing lists containing the names of the students who are in debt all over school, a practice that reveals the debt and humiliates the students whose family is facing financial problems, and even physical and psychological mistreatment.

When one of the parents loses their job or faces an emergency, some private schools use hostile methods to demand the payments. It is very unlikely for parents to reach agreements with the schools to pay tuition but almost all institutions opt for aggressive measures, such as expelling the students.

Additionally, many private schools add interests to overdue tuition fees, making it more difficult for parents to pay the fees. Therefore, when these type of conflicts take place, it should be solved before the Office of the Federal Prosecutor for the Consumer (PROFECO), not before education authorities, since it is considered as service delivery.

These cases make it evident that there is impunity in private schools as a consequence of the client-service provider relationship, as some schools use illegal methods to pressure parents, for example, private schools keep official documents issued by the Public Education Ministry unless parents pay the tuition fees. Thus, education and mercantile authorities, and even organizations and institution who defend human rights should help parents and students, since the psychological stability and integrity of children and teenagers are at risk, who are only trying to learn and receive an education.

These aggressive and often illegal practices are the consequence of the indiscriminate proliferation of private schools, which in turn is the result of the decaying public education system. In this sense, if education workers now boast about getting their work rights back, when will we be able to talk about improving public education?

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