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Teachers arrested over WhatsApp ‘secrets’ leak

A bit of 'Mean Girls'-esque high school drama has stirred up a small town in the Madrid area after a letter containing the private messages of teachers insulting students and parents was dropped into residents' mailboxes.

Teachers arrested over WhatsApp 'secrets' leak
Photo: Shutterstock

The Spanish Civil Guard have arrested one former teacher and another current teacher who are suspected of having distributed the messages from a private chat group on instant messaging app WhatsApp, Spanish newspaper El Pais reported on Tuesday. 

The former teacher was already involved in litigation with the school.

The two are accused of a crime of “disclosing secrets” because the messages were within a private group.

Police believe the two arrested extracted messages from the chat, modified them and put them together in the letter that showed up mailboxes across the town.

The five-page letter, distributed in April, revealed messages from teachers at the school making disparaging comments about students, parents and other teachers at the school in Casarrubuelos in the Madrid area. 

In one message, a teacher called Moroccans “sons of bitches” in response to another teacher saying that “no Moor is good”, though this conversation may not have been in reference to any pupils at the school, El Pais reported previously.

In another conversation, referring to a student, a teacher said “What's the name of that pig of a boy who is always getting in trouble at recess?”

After a mother accused one of the teachers of mistreating her children, that teacher called the mother “the bitch” and said that the mayor of the town had recorded images of one of her children “who you are flipping out about”, though the mayor has since denied such images exist.

The Ministry of Education suspended the headmaster of the school as a precautionary measure in April and agreed to open a disciplinary inquiry into six of the 11 teachers in the WhatsApp group.

The Civil Guard began investigating the letter on April 10th after receiving a complaint about the messages from the school's teachers who said the letter could be from a teacher involved in litigation with the school who wanted revenge.

Through the messages, the police were able to identify the former teacher as well as the other teacher who had been part of the group and helped distribute the letter.

The two could face prison time of between one and four years.

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SCHOOL

Spain issues warning as child hand sanitizer poisoning cases spike

The number of children treated in Spain for accidental poisonings after ingesting hand sanitising gels has soared during the pandemic, the government said Wednesday, urging parents to keep the products out of reach.

Spain issues warning as child hand sanitizer poisoning cases spike
Photos: AFP

There have been 874 reported cases of intoxications from hand sanitising gels so far this year, compared to just 90 during all of 2019, the National Toxicological and Forensic Sciences Institute, a unit of the justice ministry, said in a statement.   

Two-thirds of the cases involved children, especially those under the age of two. The vast majority swallowed the hand-sanitiser although some became intoxicated after getting the product in their eyes or inhaling it.

 

No fatalities have been reported and over 80 percent the poisoning victims recovered “in a short time”, the institute said.   

The most common symptoms were, vomiting, diarrhoea, coughing, blurred vision and red eyes.

In a video message posted on Twitter, Justice Minister Juan Carlos Campo called the figures “alarming” and urged parents to “keep hand-sanitising gels out of reach of children and insist that its use to disinfect hands always be supervised by an adult”.

Como ministro de Justicia, pero también como padre, me preocupan los datos de intoxicaciones por gel hidroalcohólico en niños que ha difundido hoy el @INTCFjusticia. Mantengamos estos productos fuera del alcance de los más pequeños. Protejámonos, protejámosles. pic.twitter.com/F5QGPKvX2T

— Juan Carlos Campo (@Jccampm) October 14, 2020

As in other European countries, used of hand-sanitising gels has soared in Spain to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The country has become of the pandemic's hotspots in the European Union, with close to 910,000 registered cases and over 33,000 deaths.

READ ALSO: What happens when there is a Covid-19 outbreak at a school in Spain?

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