“They were taking my cousin away,” the teenager complained, and “the police were filming.” The school principal allowed the aggressive police action to detain the students, but later apologized.
By Patricia Martinez G. (Confidencial)
HAVANA TIMES – “I was crying, I was angry, because they were taking away my cousin. Seeing that a policeman was filming, I got mad and threw the rock at him,” said the fourteen-year-old student from a Managua high school, who on November 22 came out in defense of her classmates.
The student threw a stone towards a police patrol vehicle following a fight outside the school. She did so in reaction to the arbitrary detention of her classmates, with the collaboration of the school principal, Jessica Vallejos. The girl was then threated by a police officer who took out his gun and pointed it at her. This was the version of the neighbors of the school, located between two neighborhoods of District VI in Managua.
Witnesses of the incident that went viral on social media, declared to Confidencial that a police patrol arrived at the school after some neighbors complained of the commotion that a group of students were causing when the afternoon session was dismissed. The agents entered the school with the students they had detained. According to the version of some of the students, the school principal herself suggested taking them out through a gate at the back of the school, “so that no one finds out.”
Upon learning what had happened, other students waited for the police to exit, and began to shout at them. One of the officials began filming the students on his cell phone, while others were getting the detained students into the police vehicle including the cousin of the teen who then threw a rock, which led one of the policemen to take out his weapon and point it at the group.
A team from Confidencial attempted to obtain the school principal’s side of the story, but other personnel stated that she would not grant interviews.
“They gave us the order not admit any journalists; they don’t want to offer interviews here,” affirmed the custodian at the school’s main gate.
Agents rough and aggressive with the students
The students who were detained were taken in the police vehicle to Police Station VI where they were freed later that same day.
The fifteen-year-old who was detained confirmed that while in the patrol car the officials treated her roughly: they treated me badly, there was a moment in which the official insulted me and wanted to slap me,” the student recalled.
Friends of the other teen who was detained declared that the officials mistreated him physically and psychologically. “Since he’s a boy, they mistreated him more. The police put a gun to his back,” commented a friend.
The girl student, nonetheless, added that when she reached the Police Station the police chief on duty – who they didn’t identify – was “pleasant” and commented to them that he too “regretted” the events that have occurred in the country since April, when the protests against the government of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo began.
“The Station Chief was cool with us; he told us not to go around defying them, and that we shouldn’t make problems for ourselves, that some police have wounds in their hearts for all of those who died,” the youth commented.
The Police haven’t issued any statements regarding the event, nor have they identified the officers who intervened at the school and caused the incident.
Student wasn’t expelled, but her parents fear for the future
The mothers of the two girls – the fifteen-year-old who was detained by the police and the fourteen-year-old who threw the rock – both confirmed that neither girl was expelled from the high school, as some of the media had speculated.
The Friday immediately following the incident, the 14-year-old’s mother didn’t send her to school for fear that the Police might return to the center and take her off. On social media, hundreds of Nicaraguans had commented on the video of the teen throwing the rock, comparing her with the national hero Andres Castro, who famously confronted an 1856 attack by throwing rocks at the Filibuster army commandeered by adventurer William Walker from the United States. The comments on social media also criticized the “cowardly attitude” of the policeman who aimed a gun at her.
“After all this, I’m afraid that they’ll grab her and not let her free anymore,” affirmed the young girl’s mother. The incident also coincided with the last days of the school year.
National human rights organizations have calculated that the Ortega regime has jailed 610 Nicaraguans, among them 28 minors; all are considered political prisoners of the repression.
The girl’s mother went to the school on Monday to find out about the teen’s status at that center.
“They told me that I should come and pick up her report card on December 3, and that my daughter can continue attending there. The principal said that none of the kids were expelled,” declared the mother of the girl who had been threatened with the gun.
Both mothers preferred not to give their names, to protect the identity of the minors. They offered no further details, “in order not to make the problem bigger,” arguing that their priority is to continue guaranteeing the education of their daughters.
However, another family member with links to the minors complained that the school administration “shouldn’t have turned the students over to the police.”
According to this family member, what they should have done was to call the children’s parents or guardians and have them decide what to do with their children, as the disciplinary policies of the center specifies.
Nicaraguan Federation for Children and Adolescents requests outside intervention
The Nicaraguan Coordination Federation that works with Children and Adolescents (Codeni) issued a statement following the incident at the Republica de Argentina school.
“This case constitutes a flagrant violation of the rights of children and adolescents, and of the principles and fundamentals of the Childhood and Adolescence Code. It should be sanctioned according to the stipulations of the penal code,” the organization pointed out.
In addition, they demanded that the government of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo and all the State institutions “guarantee protective measures for the children and teens amid the sociopolitical crisis the country is engulfed in, and halt the arbitrary acts committed by the authorities.”
Codeni has documented 29 minors among the 325 dead from the Ortega massacre.
“We urge the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights and the Regional Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to become familiar with the case and to undertake the needed investigations to denounce it at an international level,” the statement recommended.