An education row gripped the frontpages on Thursday and Friday, after a controversial video of an angry teacher pushing Peronist politics in the classroom went viral online.
On Friday, a day after the video showing a fierce debate between a La Matanza teacher and one of her students emerged, President Alberto Fernández came out in defence of the embattled woman, sparking anger among the opposition.
“If that teacher gave bad marks as the result of an argument, that would be wrong but if that debate served to open up her students’ minds, it’s valid,” he told a radio.
Teacher Laura Virginia Radetich was suspended from her teaching post as a result of the ‘debate,’ in which she yelled in frustration at a student who questioned her take on Argentina’s recent history.
The controversy hit the media and social networks in record time and the teacher was denounced before the La Matanza Prosecutor-General by seven opposition politicians from the Republicanos Unidos list of Juntos por el Cambio with City legislative assembly hopeful Yamil Santoro taking the lead.
Speaking as a professor himself, the president said Friday that most important part of a teacher’s role was “to sow doubts rather than certainties among the students,” saying he liked to see students be challenged.
"That there has been this debate is formidable because it opens up the minds of the students, inviting them to think and discuss," argued Fernández.
Education Minister Nicolás Trotta was more neutral in his comments, telling Radio Rivadavia that the incident was being investigated and that the teacher had been suspended from giving classes while the investigation proceeds.
"I’ve conversed with my Buenos Aires provincial colleague and our outlook is to oppose anything which could be called indoctrination. Social reality must be debated but not in the terms we saw," affirmed Trotta.
“The lad had fixed ideas from things he had heard, like Peronism governing in the last 70 years, and she became exalted because she knows the truth,”, maintained President Fernández in contradiction with his minister, concluding: "Here, in the city of Buenos Aires, there’s a headmaster who defends military coups and nobody wrote a line on that man."
Unsurprisingly, not everyone took the video well. Multiple opposition lawmakers angrily denounced it, with many using the issue to criticise the government’s handling of the education sector.