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  • This blog is written by specialists from the Education Division of the Inter-American Development Bank. Its objective is to provide arguments and ideas that will spark debate about how to transform education in Latin America and the Caribbean. This blog is a call to action for the reader. An idea, a project, or a question can make a difference.

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    Las opiniones expresadas en este blog son las del autor y no necesariamente reflejan las opiniones del Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo, sus directivas, la Asamblea de Gobernadores o sus países miembros.

    The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Inter-American Development Bank, its Management, its Board of Executive Directors or its member Governments.

    Teachers: Keeping children safe amidst violence

    By - 13 Jun 2011

    On March 31, 2011, a kindergarten teacher in the state of Nuevo León, México received an award for her bravery in keep her 5 and 6 year old students safe and calm as a gun battle broke out near the school. When the violence commenced, the teacher, Ms. Alanis, remained calm, had the students lie on the floor, reassured them and sang a song to soothe them. Remaining calm under emergencies is of course critical, not only since it allows us to respond more rationally, but also to help keep those around us calm, especially children. The question of course is always: when the time comes, can we truly remain calm? For Ms. Alanis and her students, the answer is a resounding yes.

    The Economist recently ran a story on the levels of violence in Mexico, which have increased five-fold since 2007, though 70 percent of the violence is concentrated in 3% of the municipalities. The interactive map offers a visual of the change since 2007:


    This kind of increase in criminal violence is noted not only in Mexico but also across Central America, much of it related to an increase in organized crime and drug trafficking in the region.

    All is not bleak however. A number of initiatives, including from the IDB, are moving forward to strengthen institutions that improve the safety of the country’s people, improve health, education and other basic services, strengthen support networks and offer positive alternatives for youth. Turning the tide against violence and achieving peace, however, is a long and tumultuous road. As we progress along that road, we continue to depend on the bravery and courage of teachers like Ms. Alanis and her students.

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