The Balearic Government puts private security in schools in a district of Palma


PalmaThe Son Gotleu district, located in Palma, Mallorca, is only mentioned when the alarms go off: when there is a conflict in the street, the police intervene or there is a raid. The people who live there and the professionals who work there are fed up with the stigma with which, from the outside, they always look at them. But episodes like last week put the spotlight back on the neighborhood and worsen its image. The incident took place in front of the Gabriel Vallseca public school, where two groups of people fought and the director of the center, who was trying to stop them, was attacked. The National Police is still investigating the reasons. Far from complaints and grievances, the school’s principal, Asun Gallardo, said it was “an isolated event that represents neither the neighborhood nor the students,” and claimed to sit down with the administration to ensure let nothing similar happen again.

The immediate reaction of the Balearic Ministry of Education was to put private security in front of the three centers of infantile and primary of the district. Finally, there are two who have accepted it. However, they do not believe it is the long-term solution. The director of CEIP Es Pont, which is located in the area, Maria Antònia Crespí, explains that her needs go much further: “We need people with decision-making power and resource management to really want to do something to guarantee the most basic rights of children ”, he explains. Crespí says that in the classrooms, they make an effort for children to look at their environment “from a constructive point of view”. But a fact like this fight makes them take steps back and rebuild. “Society puts a negative image on children who fight against this label all the time,” says the director.

Structural deficiencies

Both Crespí and the other sources consulted to write the article emphasize the fact that violent events are not the daily reality of the neighborhood, but that the problems that drown it are structural. A cocktail of poverty, overcrowding, deficit buildings and an increase in the presence of drugs – especially heroin – in the streets degrade the area and complicate the lives of its inhabitants.

Son Gotleu is the poorest neighborhood in the Balearic Islands. According to the National Statistics Institute (INE), the per capita income is 7,771 euros, while the average in the archipelago is almost double: 13,240 euros. It arose in the sixties, due to the urgent need for housing as a result of the boom tourism, which attracts labor from the Peninsula. During the first decade of the 2000s, the non-EU migrant population arrived, which currently represents 42% of the residents. In two decades, the neighborhood has grown from 6,700 residents to more than 10,000 registered. As it is the area with the cheapest rents in the city, the most vulnerable population is concentrated there.

In this context, schools do much more than schools: it is where they eat and the space of trust where families come to any doubt or need. “We are a social dining room. They only sell children with a scholarship, no one can pay for the menu “, Crespí underlines. Of the 187 students who attend its center, 120 have dining grants. As most families live in the service sector, the covid-19 crisis has made precariousness even worse.

“These are families who need help with any procedure, who do not understand the administration, and the difficulties on a social scale add many burdens to the centers, beyond the purely educational task,” says the City Council’s educational intervention technician. , Llorenç Coll. Since 2011, he has been coordinating the education commission within the Son Gotleu platform of entities and services, made up of schools, NGOs, social services and the health center. Together, they work to serve neighbors in a cross-cutting way and, at the same time, foster a sense of community.

Coll believes that the administration is trying to respond to the problems of the neighborhood, “but they are a little late, because reality and the administration do not have the same tempos.” In addition, the educator considers that the intervention from the public sphere should not be so “compartmental” but more transversal, with objective indicators in hand and a commitment in the medium and long term. Meanwhile, “we are doing what we can, saving resources so that they can eat, do extracurricular activities …”, he points out. And he adds: “We would like to say that the school is a transformation, but, for now, it is more a space of containment.”

Increase in drugs

The vulnerability and degradation of the area attracts drug sales, which has intensified in recent times. In fact, the education commission met last month with the police forces and the City Council’s Citizen Security department to report that they had detected drug outlets around schools, says Coll.

In addition, there is a very significant rise in heroin use. “Part of the consumers have moved to the neighborhood and, thus, the consumption of drugs and addictions is very visible,” explains the cultural mediator of the health center in the area, Aina Mascaró. She makes sure that health coverage reaches everyone and helps health professionals and users understand each other, decoding cultural codes. He has been working in the neighborhood for more than 14 years and strongly states that “it is safe”. As Son Gotleu has one of the youngest towns in the archipelago, he is especially concerned about how it can be influenced by the fact that he regularly sees heroin use on the street. Of course, he is clear: “Here the big problem is poverty, living conditions that harm health.”


Source: Ara.cat – Portada by www.ara.cat.

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