Sexual violence in educational institutions, a view from moral education » Al Poniente

Sexual violence in educational institutions a view from moral education

Various information and press articles have set off alarms in the educational sector in Colombia, so far in 2022, about sexual violence that has taken place in schools or colleges, spaces that would be expected to be protective environments. There, the students have taken courage to denounce different situations that have occurred in their schools, such as the case in which a teacher sexually abused three minors between 10 and 13 years old or where a teacher was dismissed from his position for sexually harassing several students. in a girls’ school. We know that the foregoing is just a glimpse of the problems that the educational reality is going through and that in some cases it is not reduced to sexual abuse or harassment, since, according to the complaints made, complicity, mishandling of information and the null attention of teachers or directors are recurrent.

Faced with these facts, the reactions of fathers, mothers and the community in general have not been long in coming: they have carried out marches, disclosed information on social networks, have generated protests within the institutions, complaints and legal demands. Now, on this reality there have been various opinions, positions and actions. But, beyond the media show that they can sometimes generate, especially from issues as critical as sexual abuse, it has been tried to go further by paying attention to the programs implemented or to be implemented in schools to prevent this type of actions. . Being relevant, in turn, that they encourage students to identify risks of abuse, the importance of informing and activating the relevant attention routes.

In relation to the above, the Ministry of National Education -MEN- in a statement published on March 23 on its official website, recalled the resources, projects, programs, laws and strategies that have been created regarding the issue of sexual violence in the educational sector. Some of them are: the Education for Sexuality and Construction of Citizenship Program (PESCC), implemented since 2008 to guarantee education on sexuality and prevention of gender-based violence. Likewise, Law 1620 of 2013: School Coexistence Law for coexistence, citizenship and social and reproductive rights, which must be included in all the programs and projects of the institutions. The Unified Information System for School Coexistence (SIUCE) is also named, which seeks to identify, record and monitor cases of harassment, teenage pregnancy, school violence and violation of sexual and reproductive rights. For her part, the director of the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare -ICBF- Lina Arbeláez, in an interview granted to the program WEATHER live on March 18, 2022, mentioned the support that the entity provides to cases in which there is a violation of the physical, psychological or sexual integrity of children in the country with the aim of restoring their rights. In the same speech, he reiterated the responsibility of activating the route that parents, teachers, educational directors or any adult who identifies a case of violation of a minor have.

Having made these notes, three issues can be evidenced: first, the cases indicated are just a sample of many others that have existed, exist and possibly will exist in the educational reality. Second, the existence of these laws and/or projects are not being enough to face the problem identified. Third, in none of these communications and reports reviewed is there a problematization towards the moral formation of teachers in the country. The latter, in my opinion, is the most relevant to consider in what follows.

As has been shown, the question about the moral training of teachers is not put on the table to be discussed. Taking a look at training from this aspect is important and even more so here, where the problem that is exposed is of a moral order. Indicating that this should not be understood in a religious sense, as is commonly recognized, but a moral one in Kantian terms, which refers to a process of autonomy in which it is sought that the subjects behave better and better, from the development of your good will. Delving into the concept, we must bear in mind that morality is a constant process of the entire human species, which does not seek individual benefits but the common or universal good. It constitutes one of the fundamental dimensions of the human being, a hallmark of humanity, which allows us to notice that a subject has full and adequate use of his rational capacity. Likewise, it is important to be clear that moralization is a process that begins through education. Thus, in the introduction to his work Pedagogy, Kant describes that education as an art leads to the perfection of the species and makes man become a man. That is to say, through education, man develops all the dimensions that compose him and thus manages to overcome the animality with which he comes by nature.

Now, focusing educational and training processes on the development of the moral dimension recognizes the common good before individual benefit and does not bet on imposing laws, but on a moral conscience. Likewise, it allows the other to be seen as an authentic other, that is, an end in itself. With this, there would be no room to violate, violate or abuse a human being. As we are observing, a careful understanding of morality is permeated by a development of humanity, its use of reason, the recognition of the other and with all of this a self-government, that is, giving laws to oneself that implies taking responsibility for the own acts.

Taking into account what has been said, it is appropriate to ask: do teachers have a full development of their moral dimension? Is there a commitment from educational training for educators in this area? And if the previous answers are negative: How does this affect the development of morality and autonomy of students, that is, the development of humanity that occurs through education? With what has been said, the call for moral education is an evident need, since it is what allows ethical, fair and safe societies. In other words, thinking about training in educational institutions, without taking into consideration the moral training of its actors, such as teachers and students, leads to a lack of commitment to what makes us human: self-government and being responsible with the environment. other.

In conclusion, giving the value it deserves to the moral formation of educators and students could have as an incentive a decrease in violent acts, such as sexual violence, where there is a loss of seeing the other as an end in itself. and it is reduced to an object of pleasure or where any vulnerability and the power that it holds are taken advantage of. Finally, Kant himself warns that a subject who does not govern himself or is not on the path of moralization, is not a worthy subject or in a position to educate others. Understanding with this the great historical, social and ethical responsibility that teachers have, but which is often not recognized as a determining factor in the consolidation of safe schools for all.

Supporting bibliography:

  • KANT, I. (2013). Pedagogy (1803). M. Fernandez (ed.). L.luzuriaga & JL Pascual (trans.). Madrid: Akal.

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Sexual violence in educational institutions, a view from moral education » Al Poniente