HomeNewsBriefEl Salvador Gangs Causing Tens of Thousands to Leave School
BRIEF

El Salvador Gangs Causing Tens of Thousands to Leave School

BARRIO 18 / 22 JUL 2016 BY SEAN TJADEN AND MIKE LASUSA EN

The number of children in El Salvador abandoning school due to gang threats has risen dramatically in recent years, illustrating some of the particular impacts the country's dire security situation has had on young people.  

According to data from the Salvadoran education ministry reported by El Diario de Hoy, the number of children dropping out of school surged threefold from 13,000 in 2014 to 39,000 last year.

Moreover, El Diario de Hoy reports that the official figures may not reflect the full scope of the problem. According to the news outlet, a 2015 study conducted by El Salvador's national teachers' union estimated that 100,000 students had dropped out, primarily due to gang threats.

Education minister Carlos Mauricio Canjura acknowledged that security concerns are the main reason students abandon school, adding that the education ministry had hired dozens of psychologists to help students struggling with trauma related to widespread gang violence.

"These are very serious problems that require capabilities that go far beyond the capacities of our teachers," Canjura said.

By some estimates, gang threats affect 60 percent of Salvadoran schools. But students are not the only members of the educational system affected by gang violence; teachers are frequently threatened and targeted for extortion as well.

For example, a school in the town of Izalco in Sonsonate recently reopened after having been closed for nearly a month due to gang threats. According to El Diario de Hoy, the Sonsonate education department had to hire new employees to replace those who refused to return to work due to fears for their safety.

Although the school has reopened, the threat posed by gangs persists. The day after classes resumed, while students were at recess, a shootout with police outside the school left one suspected gang member dead and another injured.

InSight Crime Analysis

In addition to forcing children to abandon school prematurely, the security crisis in El Salvador has had a number of other negative impacts on the country's youth. Gangs often forcibly recruit children into their ranks, which not only puts young people at heightened risk for physical harm, but also severely limits their ability to pursue future career prospects outside the criminal realm.

SEE ALSO: El Salvador News and Profiles

In response, some Salvadoran politicians have proposed adopting a more aggressive law enforcement approach to minors who become involved in criminal activities. However, several educators cited by El Diario de Hoy suggested that investing more resources in the educational system would yield better results in terms of protecting young people and helping them achieve a successful future. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

EL SALVADOR / 11 JUN 2014

El Salvador's new President Salvador Sanchez Ceren has declared he will not "make a truce with organized crime," in comments…

BARRIO 18 / 10 DEC 2015

The number of asylum seekers from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala in the United States shot up 410 percent between…

COLOMBIA / 14 JUL 2011

Southern Pulse examines those areas of Latin America where there is no state presence, and transnational criminal organizations are able…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…