Policewomen Protect Honduran Students from Maras

By Dialogo
July 17, 2013

República del Perú School’s iron gate is guarded by two women in blue uniform, both of whom are members of the School Police unit created last year for surveillance and keeping gangs away from educational centers in the capital of Honduras.

“We were afraid of the ‘mareros’ (gang members), but now we feel safe,” said a sixth-grade student entering the school with another classmate and pointing to the two officers at the gate.

She does not have enough time to say her name, because the police officers tell her to get inside and avoid talking to strangers that come near this school, located in El Pedregal, one of the most dangerous neighborhoods south of Tegucigalpa.

Honduras is currently immersed in violence, and has the highest murder rate in the world (85.5 per every 100,000 inhabitants according to the Violence Observatory of the National Autonomous University of Honduras). The schools are no exception to this reality, and many have been forced to close.

The 1,300 students and 58 teachers from the Rapública del Perú school were used to a routine of robberies and assaults perpetrated by gangs in the area; some teachers were even pressured to pass students involved with maras, a situation that was repeated in other schools.

In the San José de la Vega neighborhood, also in the southern area, gang members forced the closure of the Michel J. Hasbum Institute, after killing a guard from whom they demanded payment of a “war tax.” However, it was recently reopened due to police presence.

The 60 women from the School Police cover 25 educational centers in the capital that suffer from serious security situations. Every day the group is distributed in shifts; two in the morning and two in the afternoon.

Therefore, School Police chief Rolando Cárcamo Piura is boosting a comprehensive prevention program inside schools, aimed at joint work between the police, parents and teachers.

“We do not lose our children to the streets… we lose them at home when we do not teach them values, when we show no interest in their homework, when we do not correct in due time, when we do not set an example,” stated the chief officer during a presentation before 15 teachers at San Martín Institute in Tegucigalpa’s Abajo neighborhood.

The plan will be implemented in dozens of the 298 municipalities in the country, and it consists of a diagnosis of the problems of the schools, followed by designing a security manual with the collaboration of the three parties.

Are the policeladies judo/karate expert Hi, I am in the Republic of Peru school. It's the best school in Honduras.