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Jiza school 'badly damaged' by young attackers

By JT - Dec 10,2015 - Last updated at Dec 10,2015

AMMAN — A group of young people on Wednesday attacked Al Qastal Secondary School in Jiza by lighting fires and destroying property in the principal's room and the computer laboratory, the Jordan Teachers Association (JTA) said Thursday.

The assailants were attempting to attack a sports teacher and his students while they were training in preparation for participation in the Education Ministry's activities, according to a JTA statement.

The teacher defended the students, resulting in a brawl, said the statement.

Afterwards, the attackers broke into the principal's office and burned it, as well as destroying computers in the laboratory, the statement said, adding that because the principal's office was separate from the classrooms, teachers did not notice the fire until smoke had accumulated.

The smoke resulted in breathing difficulties among some students, which forced teachers to send them home for their safety.

The teachers then called the police, district administration and the education directorate, the statement added.

Teacher Walid Jaber, a JTA member who visited the school, was quoted in the statement as saying that the school was "badly damaged" and the association would follow up on the incident with the education directorate.

Abdul Rahman Zaben, another JTA member, called on the Interior Ministry to provide protection for schools in Jiza District, noting that the school had previously been attacked without any measures being taken against the assailants.

The incident is the fifth in the district since the beginning of the year, raising the total number of recorded assaults on teachers and schools across the Kingdom to 97 in 2015, according to the statement.

In remarks to The Jordan Times in June, Zaben said Jiza, located in the south of Amman, suffers from security issues, especially caused by those “who claim to be influential”.

“The district governor and the police are very weak in the area. Even the education director was attacked [recently] and could not do anything against the perpetrators. The schools are becoming more like battlefields,” he added.

Marking a judicial precedent, a First Instance Court in late November sentenced two assailants of teachers to prison terms, according to the JTA.

Judge Bassam Khawaldeh of the Aqaba Court of First Instance made the "unprecedented" ruling against a man and his wife who attacked two female teachers last year.

Attacks on teachers are continuing even after the Cabinet approved amendments to the Penal Code in November that stiffen penalties against those who assault educators and medical personnel.

The amended law, which was referred to the Legislation and Opinion Bureau, stipulates no less than a one-year prison term for those who attack teachers, faculty members at colleges and universities, nurses and doctors while they are on duty.

 

The punishment also applies if the educators or healthcare workers are attacked for an action or decision they have taken in their professional capacity.

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