From: Exit Staff
Citizens Protest against Rise in Violence and Sexual Assault in Schools

Activists have been protesting in front of the Education Ministry in Tirana today over what they claim is a growing rise in violence and sexual violence in schools.

Congregating in the pouring rain, protesters blame the Ministry for doing nothing to stop the phenomenon and they demanded that the Minister Besa Shahini resign. They also claim that there is no mechanism in place for referring cases of sexual violence.

In recent times there have been a number of incidents of sexual violence taking place in public schools that have been published in the media.

Protestors are demanding that licenses of those found guilty of abuse should be abolished and they should be stopped from practising the teaching profession. This should also apply to other staff who are aware of instances of abuse but do not report it. They are also asking for reporting mechanisms to be established to report incidents in schools, kindergartens and other educational institutions. They have also stated that the Education Ministry drafts a Code of Ethics in collaboration with education workers and attach it to the staff employment contract.

Exit has previously reported extensively on the case of a Socialist Party vote collector, unqualified for her role as a Kindergarten Director who was accused of beating a three-year-old child. Investigations and a voice recording found that she had threatened staff members not to speak of the abuse while boasting she was being protected by the Party. It was also alleged she hired a “fixer” to ensure that the case never reached court. She still retains her role to this day.