Sustainable Coexistence

Too often we see on the TV screen a reality that leaves no one indifferent. Bullying and school violence or abuse, is a difficult and complex reality that exists in many schools on a daily basis. Violence between students, students against teachers and vice versa, particularly in those establishments aimed at students at social vulnerability.

In this sense, one of the main achievements of Agroecological School of Pirque is its model of sustainable coexistence that has installed in the community. This allows today’s rates of school violence and other situations that sometimes affect schools such as selling drugs or robbery, are of 0 %.

A lot of people who visit us for the first time, are deeply surprised by the fact that the doors of the school are permanently open, that there is no janitor and no patio inspectors. Although there are 450 students, common areas and classrooms remain quiet -besides the expected movement of a school. Students are very friendly and know who and how to appeal when they have a problem. What is even more surprising is that the EAP has a social vulnerability index greater than 75% every year, and 30% of our students are in a very precarious situation.

How is this done? The answer is the result of a process of years that has involved a major commitment of the institution, and especially the teaching staff, to deepen in the learning process of young people, far beyond the delivery of knowledge and the development of competencies and technical skills.

The basis of our model of sustainable coexistence is a strong school culture, built and respected by all, which is based on a set of values that are not just a part of the institutional discourse, but are experienced everyday, in addition to a clear and mission which remains consistent over time.

However, what characterizes this view is the change from a life based on rules of discipline to one based on belonging rules. This has profound implications because it leaves to the students the commitment and responsibility to ascribe to these rules. If they want to belong to this school community, they must engage with them. These rules are summarized in the “Declaration of Sacred Space”, a document which is studied in the Interior Ecology Workshop, signed by all students and recreated through a ritual which is done annually in mid-year.

As a complement, the School has developed a number of instances for the mediation of conflicts when they arise, from the support of teachers and administrators, including the inspector general, in addition to mediation workshops and Educators for Peace Program, among others. They are based on respect for diversity and and open dialogue a transversal where prevails the trust, the compliance with the commitments made, and the search for peace.

All this does not mean that the school is no man’s land and that students can do whatever they want; quite the contrary, we have zero tolerance to violence and drugs. We accept children with drug problems or who have experienced situations of violence, but neither drugs nor weapons of any kind belong in this school. We believe that all conflicts can be resolved with good will and respect, responsibility and confidence, from clear roles and an authority that does not fall into paternalism, nor into abuse.

For more informtion check:

Sustainable coexistence Handbook

School culture Handbook

Directive management Handbook