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Syndicate welcomes move to stiffen penalties against teachers’ assailants

By Muath Freij - Nov 12,2015 - Last updated at Nov 12,2015

AMMAN — The Jordan Teachers Association (JTA) on Thursday welcomed a Cabinet decision approving the mandating reasons for draft amendments to the Penal Code that stiffen penalties against assailants of educators and medical personnel.

JTA Spokesperson Ayman Okour said the association has been calling for these amendments. 

“We have recorded hundreds of assaults against female and male teachers and we welcome these amendments,” Okour told The Jordan Times over the phone.

The amended law, which was referred to the Legislation and Opinion Bureau, stipulates no less than one-year imprisonment for those who assault 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.

The JTA official said jailing assailants is not the only step that the authorities can take to overcome this “dangerous trend”. 

“There is an urgent need to raise the awareness of families on these assaults. We also need to boost the relationship between the families and teachers,” he added. 

A JTA statement released Thursday quoted the syndicate’s president, Hussam Masheh, as saying that over 80 assaults on educators have been recorded so far this year, in addition to tens of unverified cases. 

Basam Shawaqfeh, executive director of the Western Badia education directorate, said these penalties — if applied — will have a significant impact on the education sector.

In the Western Badia, a student’s parent reportedly hit a teacher at Musharafeh Secondary School for Boys this week.

Teachers at the school observed a strike on Wednesday in protest against the attack, a JTA statement said.

“This will boost the morale of the teachers, give them confidence and make them feel protected,” Shawaqfeh added.

Also on Thursday, Education Ministry Spokesperson Walid Jallad said the ministry has filed 60 lawsuits against teachers’ assailants, noting that the minister has tasked the legal division with following up on all assaults.

The Jordan News Agency, Petra, quoted Jallad as saying that the ministry will not drop charges against the assailants even if the targeted educators decide to do so.

 

In previous remarks to The Jordan Times, Okour said the vast majority of cases of assaults on educators do not reach court due to the pressure teachers face when deciding to press charges.

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