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Teachers in Mafraq, Aqaba protest against assaults on educators

By Dana Al Emam - Nov 17,2014 - Last updated at Nov 17,2014

AMMAN — Demanding protection from violence at the workplace and harsher punishment for assaulters, teachers in two schools in Mafraq and Aqaba organised separate sit-ins on Monday, according to the Jordan Teachers Association (JTA).

The protests followed two recent incidents; one on Sunday, when a group of men attacked a teacher in Karama Elementary School in Aqaba and the other last week in Mafraq. 

A group of armed outlaws with over 20 vehicles broke into the Manshiyet Al Ghiath Secondary School for Boys in Ruweished District and “assaulted” teachers and the principal, according to the JTA. 

“The JTA demands that Parliament endorse the draft amendments to the Penal Code submitted during the previous extraordinary session that propose imposing a prison term of up to a year and a fine on perpetrators,” JTA spokesperson Ayman Okour told The Jordan Times over the phone. 

Describing the issue as “very dangerous”, Okour said assaults against educators are increasing in number and intensity, which requires further enforcement of the law.

He noted that the JTA board will convene on Tuesday to discuss a number of escalatory measures, including a series of sit-ins and strikes, if authorities do not find solutions soon.

Okour attributed the recent incidents to several factors such over-crowded classrooms, which often create tensions among students themselves, and between students and teachers.

“Usually, the assailants are people who get paid by families of students who fail or are punished for violating regulations,” he said, adding that the JTA will file legal complaints against perpetrators.  

The official called on authorities to develop a “true willingness” to bring an end to these incidents, similar to the efforts that succeeded in curbing violations during the General Secondary Certificate Examination (Tawjihi).

Meanwhile, Education Ministry Spokesperson Walid Jallad said the ministry follows up on all violations and coordinates with the concerned authorities to punish the perpetrators.

He added that the Aqaba Education Department is dealing with the incident at Karama Elementary School.

“Even if teachers drop charges, the ministry will not, because humiliating one teacher is a humiliation for the ministry,” he told The Jordan Times over the phone on Monday.

He urged the local communities to stand against the phenomenon and to respect educators.

Also on Monday, Education Minister Mohammad Thneibat directed the ministry’s legal affairs department to file a lawsuit against the assailants in Mafraq and Aqaba, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. 

Thneibat said the ministry is examining several scenarios to handle the problem at Manshiyet Al Ghiath Secondary School for Boys in Ruweished, where teaching and administrative personnel have been attacked more than once. 

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