For most boys and girls in Latin America and the Caribbean, school represents the environment in which they spend the great majority of time in their everyday lives. The school’s general role is to educate, nourish and protect its students. In the region, however, schools are dramatically failing in this sense and violence plays an ominous role in this context: The practice of corporal punishment is still present, as is emotional mistreatment and sexual abuse on the part of teachers, both male and female. There is also a growing tendency of peer harassment – aggravated by the use of the Internet—and some studies carried out in the region’s countries tell of student aggression (especially male) against teachers and other education authorities. Parents have also been found to be involved in this type of violence.
Whenever it occurs, violence causes pain, damage and humiliation to boys, girls and adolescents, thus affecting their learning, their development and their future. Plan International and UNICEF share a common vision dedicated to the fulfillment of the rights of boys, girls and adolescents worldwide, including as a central part of this work the right of all boys,, girls and adolescents to be protected from any type of violence. As part of this commitment, both institutions have contributed to undertaking a set of studies, research and analysis, which in turn are part of a series of actions aimed at tackling the problems related to violence in schools.
The study aims to be an instrument of debate and reflection, to help define and obtain sustainable and effective measures which contribute to put an end to violence against children and adolescents in schools and in all aspects of their lives.