Guatemalan Professors Fear Gang Violence from Students

August 12, 2005

GUATEMALA CITY (EFE) – Teachers from Rafael Aqueche, a staterun institute, fear they could become victims of violence by students belonging to youth gangs, following the murder of a female teacher Aug. 5.National Police officials say a student who was unhappy with his grade allegedly killed Hilda Zulema, 48, a natural science teacher. The teacher was shot twice in the back with a rifle as she walked to her car in the parking lot.A 15-year-old student and alleged gang member was arrested by police on Saturday, and is being held as a suspect. Eva de Ramírez, the school’s director, told reporters this week that her office has received recent phone calls threatening the lives of other teachers. She also said that dozens of gang members have been harassing teachers and other students for months.However, she added, the student who was recently detained by police was not a student of the murdered teacher. The director said she believes the detained student is innocent, because he has an alibi.Minister of Education María del Carmen lamented the killing and said she would request more police protection for teachers and students.The Rafael Aqueche school is one of the leading public education institutes in Guatemala City, recognized for its quality and its belligerence in student uprisings during Guatemala’s civil war.There are currently 1,500 students enrolled at the school.

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