The Impact Of Drugs And Gangs In Honduran Schools

El Heraldo published a fairly extensive article talking about how drug trafficking and gang activity in schools throughout Tegucigalpa.

The typical bickering and infighting among students of secondary schools has stopped concerning many of them. Instead the situation in these schools has escalated due to the emergence of drug-trafficking and drug usage on campus which greatly affects students. Ultimately this atmosphere has generated a sensation of death being omnipresent, mourning never more than a few minutes away, and sadness in the halls of the schools.

This information is coming from a series of investigations conducted by the National Directive of Social Intervention (DINIS) which have been ongoing since April of last year. This problem is deeply concerning for families of students, teachers, government officials, and the students themselves.

The head of DINIS, Saul Coca has stated that: “the investigations we conducted were startingly and revealed that in all of these schools there are various levels of drug trafficking and drug consumption and thus that many young people are using and consuming drugs.” One of the key relevations of the investigations has determined that the Central Vicente Caceres (ICVC) school is one of the schools with critical problems when it comes to drug trafficking and drug consumption. The school is one of the institutions where they’ve worked to improve measures meant to prevent the circulation of drugs and to lessen the number of students who use drugs. Saul stated: “There are 7,000 students who converge from all of the highest risk and criminal zones and this contributes to the usage of drugs and their rate of circulation.”

Gangs In The ICVC:

Equally concerning to drug usage and trafficking throughout schools is the infiltration of gangsters into the institutions of education throughout the capital. According to this article, even the classrooms of the school and others like it can be centers of  criminal activity, and this is reflected in graffiti drawn in classrooms 105 & 106, in the hallways and the bathrooms, in this legendary school. The number 18 is a highly visible symbol with it appearing at least once in the school drawn to be more than a full meter in height on a blackboard, and it reappears throughout the school in hallways and bathrooms.

Alejandro McCarthy, the school’s director has stated that these drawings are many years old. They haven’t been erased due to the school not getting money to afford private security watching over the school when no one is supposed to be there. When it came to gang members attempting to enter the school, the director stated “we’ve gotten internal security in other locations.” suggesting that other forms of security exist within the school.

What’s Happening In Other Schools:

Similar situations have been documented in the Polivalente Saul Zelaya Jimenez school located in La Pradera, Comayaguela, which is in the middle of areas like La Rosa, Venecia, Flor del Campo, among others. This school has been subjected to increasing rates of drug usage and trafficking, thanks to gang members who’ve started appearing nearby and selling the illegal items.

According to Hernan Fuentes, the director of the school: “there are young people who sympathize with the gang members because they are in a difficult situation in the area but that’s causing us problems right now.”

Hernan had some hopeful words when it came to drug trafficking within the school itself: “It has been reducing in size, we can’t say it’s been completely eliminated but it has started going down thanks to the presence of the military police in the school.”

The Most Recent Deaths:

Two violent deaths, that of Rebeca Abigail Velasquez Torres (who was 15) on the 23rd of June and Olman Adalid Castillo Calderon (who was 18) on the 27th of this month set off alarms throughout the capital. This past Thursday many schools met with leadership of the PMOP to bring an end to these violent acts that impact so many lives and so thoroughly corrupt schools in the city.

Mario Rivera, a spokesman for the PMOP stated: “Our military presence will be visible throughout the external part of the country, and in the areas where the majority of students converge.” Throughout the past few days many parents have escorted their children to the primary entrance of the schools, particularly the ICVC out of fear for their safety in the wake of the recent deaths.

Saul Zelaya Jimenez retains its military presence thanks to the sad background of this area and region.

Some 48 schools are currently experiencing some form of military police intervention in the capital and in communities in Cortes and Atlantida.

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