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90 Tijuana schools vandalized

Toilets, sinks, office equipment, maintenance tools, electrical installations, doors, fences, pipes, lamps stolen

Principal Cristian Gastelum calculates that 60 percent of the school infrastructure was stolen or vandalized.
Principal Cristian Gastelum calculates that 60 percent of the school infrastructure was stolen or vandalized.

At least 90 schools in Tijuana were vandalized during the pandemic, most of them in the east zone of the city.

Benemerito de las Americas II elementary school's principal calculates that 60 percent of the school infrastructure was stolen or vandalized.

Stolen toilets

The principal, Cristian Gastelum, said that parents of the students have seen stolen equipment from the school for sale in the neighborhood's street markets. “They’ve reported them to the police, but they’re very busy and never come immediately. They have to respond first to shootings, robberies, and things like that."

The elementary school is located in El Laurel neighborhood on the east side, an area that has grown rapidly in the last few years. According to Gastelum, they have had support from the police department for parents to watch the school.

"We can't take the risk to stop them; it can be dangerous."

"We have a parents' committee to organize surveillance and keep the school safe, but we have nobody to stay at night." Because of the pandemic, burglars took advantage of the school being closed. "We have seen them stealing during the day, but we can't take the risk to stop them; it can be dangerous; sometimes they are drugged."

Toilets, sinks, office equipment, maintenance tools, electrical installations, doors, fences, pipes, and lamps were stolen. Irma Martinez, who is in charge of the educational system in Tijuana, says that restoring those 90 schools will probably cost millions of pesos.

Stolen sinks

Even Gastelum was a victim of a break-in in his house when living in that area, which made him look to move out of the neighborhood. "I have explained that because of the risk, a person needs to be hired for the night watch and should be provided by the system. "If any of us do the job and get injured I'm the one who has to take responsibility."

Parents have organized themselves to restore the school. The state government has started to talk about re-opening the schools, but with vandalized schools, that looks far away.

“There’s graffiti on the blackboards. That just shows the bad intentions of those who did it," principal Gastelum stated.

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Principal Cristian Gastelum calculates that 60 percent of the school infrastructure was stolen or vandalized.
Principal Cristian Gastelum calculates that 60 percent of the school infrastructure was stolen or vandalized.

At least 90 schools in Tijuana were vandalized during the pandemic, most of them in the east zone of the city.

Benemerito de las Americas II elementary school's principal calculates that 60 percent of the school infrastructure was stolen or vandalized.

Stolen toilets

The principal, Cristian Gastelum, said that parents of the students have seen stolen equipment from the school for sale in the neighborhood's street markets. “They’ve reported them to the police, but they’re very busy and never come immediately. They have to respond first to shootings, robberies, and things like that."

The elementary school is located in El Laurel neighborhood on the east side, an area that has grown rapidly in the last few years. According to Gastelum, they have had support from the police department for parents to watch the school.

"We can't take the risk to stop them; it can be dangerous."

"We have a parents' committee to organize surveillance and keep the school safe, but we have nobody to stay at night." Because of the pandemic, burglars took advantage of the school being closed. "We have seen them stealing during the day, but we can't take the risk to stop them; it can be dangerous; sometimes they are drugged."

Toilets, sinks, office equipment, maintenance tools, electrical installations, doors, fences, pipes, and lamps were stolen. Irma Martinez, who is in charge of the educational system in Tijuana, says that restoring those 90 schools will probably cost millions of pesos.

Stolen sinks

Even Gastelum was a victim of a break-in in his house when living in that area, which made him look to move out of the neighborhood. "I have explained that because of the risk, a person needs to be hired for the night watch and should be provided by the system. "If any of us do the job and get injured I'm the one who has to take responsibility."

Parents have organized themselves to restore the school. The state government has started to talk about re-opening the schools, but with vandalized schools, that looks far away.

“There’s graffiti on the blackboards. That just shows the bad intentions of those who did it," principal Gastelum stated.

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