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Teachers walk off job to mourn fatal Moreno school explosion

Teachers unions say that provincial authorities have not responded properly to the infrastructure crisis in Buenos Aires province's public schools.

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Public school 49 Nicolás Avellaneda in Moreno, Greater Buenos Aires.
Public school 49 Nicolás Avellaneda in Moreno, Greater Buenos Aires. Foto:InformateSalta

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Ten schools in the Buenos Aires province capital of La Plata closed their doors on Monday to mourn the death of a deputy principal and teacher's assistant at a public school in the Greater Buenos Aires district of Moreno on Thursday.

Deputy principal Sandra Calamano, 48, and teacher's assistant Rubén Orlando Rodríguez, 45, died Thursday at 7am when a gas supply system exploded in the teacher's common area of Moreno's Public School 49.

All public schools in Moreno remain closed as the community mourned the loss of the staff members.

On Monday, the María Eugenia Vidal government sent 40 registered gas specialists to inspect the province's schools.

Teachers unions have complained that provincial authorities have not responded properly to the infrastructure crisis in Buenos Aires' public schools.

The SUTEBA union says at least 10 schools in the province lack basic safety conditions for staff and students. All 10 have reported issues with their gas supplies, the union said.

TENSIONS

Moreno is governed by a Peronist mayor linked to former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Wálter Festa. The district's school board has been intervened since late 2017 and is controlled entirely by public officials linked to Governor Vidal.

On Friday, Vidal issued a thinly veiled criticism of teachers unions, using a statement to accuse "certain sectors" of seeking to exploit a fatal school gas explosion for political gain.

Teachers in Buenos Aires province are engaged in ongoing collective wage bargaining talks with the provincial government.

-TIMES

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