Teachers at a school in the Buenos Aires neighbourhood of Barracas lashed out at City Hall this week after the death of a young girl.
The educational professionals expressed their “pain, impotence and anger” at the death of the unidentified 11-year-old, who passed away on Monday at a hospital after profound deterioration in her health, which has been linked to malnutrition.
According to their account of events, the girl in question arrived at school the previous Friday and fainted shortly after. She was collected by her parents after the emergency services did not arrive in the first hour and was admitted to the Hospital General de Agudos José María Penna in Parque Patricios the following Monday without vital signs. It is not yet known what happened to the child, who lived with her family in Barrio 21-24, over the weekend.
"Today we are missing a girl in our school," wrote the teachers in a social media post, describing the death as “a consequence of the absence and neglect of the Government of the City of Buenos Aires, which violates the rights of our children.”
The late child joined the Escuela Primaria para Adultos Nº 11 D.E. 05 "República de Haiti" age six and “the intervention of the School Guidance Team (EOE) was requested” by staff was requested “due to the clear vulnerability of rights that the girl and her family were going through," the text reads.
The communiqué also claims that medical certificates declaring that a caloric reinforcement was necessary in the child’s meals had been filed in both 2018 and 2019, but that they never received a response. The request was eventually granted in 2021 after a referral, they claimed.
"She spent six years at our school. Six years in which the state was absent, in which attempts to intervene in the face of so much vulnerability and injustice were only hindered", the teachers alleged.
Officials at the City Education Ministry denied the latter claim, however, saying that “there was no request for food reinforcement for this student” over the last year.
“In order to request diets or food reinforcements, a medical certificate must be presented to the school authorities with the student's details, diagnosis and the date of the current year. When they did, we did provide it," a spokesperson told Perfil.
They also observed that other children at the school were receiving extra food aid.
Sources in the City government told Infobae this week that the child, identified only as ‘M,’ had died from “bilateral pneumonia” and had “various” pre-existing health issues.
Authorities at the Education Ministry said the case is now “under judicial investigation" and that they are "waiting for information from the medical and forensic body."
"Yesterday a school supervisor was present at the school and the school support teams are giving support to the whole school community," they added.
Ailén Galante, a teacher who taught the late child at the school last year, also pointed the finger at the authorities.
"This situation is the responsibility of a state that looks the other way," she told a local radio station.
The girl’s “family have lived in precarious conditions and with the absence of the state. We have tried to accompany them. It wasn't just a question of food, there were a lot of things missing," he said in an interview with FM Urbana Play.
Galante noted that in the week before her death, the girl had missed some days at school because “she didn't have shoes," but that teachers had been able to supply some.