An attack on a teacher would be punished with higher penalties than an attack on any other citizen under proposals in Argentina to raise the status of teaching. It is believed to be the first time teachers would have been given a special legal protection in this way.
Education minister Esteban Bullrich's plan would add a 25% higher penalty if an offence was against a teacher. Bullrich said it would make sure the public showed them more respect.
If the law is adopted by Argentina's congress it would mean any attack against a teacher would become an aggravated offence with increased penalties.
The bill would apply to parents and students and would include verbal abuse or threats as well as physical violence. An offender attacking a teacher would receive a 25% longer prison sentence or pay a 25% bigger fine than if a similar offence had been committed against anyone else.
The plan, developed by the education minister and Argentina's president, Mauricio Macri, is a way of supporting their government's education revolution.
We knew we needed to raise the image of teachers in our society. Slowly, but steadily, their image had fallen, Bullrich said. There were increased cases of disrespect from parents and students and even aggression towards teachers.
That's when the idea of distinguishing teachers in our penal code came up. If you hit or shout at a teacher, then you are doing so towards the most important member in our society.
Without teachers we would not have ministers or presidents, we would not have the world today. Let us grant them that respect and distinguished treatment.
John Bangs of Education International, an international federation of teachers' unions, supported the signal sent by the idea of tougher penalties for assaults on teachers.
'Schools are fundamental to their communities. If teachers are in fear, it means that children are in fear. Nothing could be more corrosive to confidence and learning.
Argentina's action might appear to be a simplistic response to complex problem, but it gives a powerful message that violence against a teacher is not only an individual assault but an assault on education.”