The Colegio Santa María in Salta has expelled a young fourth year boy named Santiago Casares after he made statements and presented himself in a way that “upset” teachers at the Catholic school. Four of his classmates who protested the unjust expulsion and his mistreatment suffered the same fate, El Canciller reported.
A spokesperson and lawyer for the Colegio Santa María claimed that the student was told to take an LGBTQ+ bracelet off, as the school doesn’t permit items that “aren’t conducive to learning.” Speaking to the media this morning, the student’s father claimed that they were “lies” and testified that even though “80 percent of students are wearing bracelets,” only his son was the only one reprimanded. The father reported that his son was told to take it off because, “it didn’t align with the values of the school” and the teacher threatened to “take him to the [principal’s office] immediately.”
The school is the most expensive in the region and is one of the most exclusive in the capital of the northern province, where the children of public officials and the upper class attend with lavish tuition fees of AR $15,000 per month.
It is reported that while Santiago was wearing the LGBTQ+ bracelet, it generated discomfort among the staff, who asked him to take it off immediately. Days later, the institution is said to have apologized for what happened through a letter and even offered to “cure” him, the parents were also informed in the letter that Santiago didn’t conform to the “religious canons of the institution.”
Despite harassment, ignorance, and ill-treatment, Santiago’s classmates decided to support him by wearing the same bracelet in solidarity. However, they were punished as well. The boys expressed themselves on the social networks “backing” their classmate; the school, after sharing publications and letters, informed them they were unable to renew their studies at the institution for the 2019 year.
The case has been taken to the government agency against discrimination, INADI.
Salta is one of the most conservative provinces in the nation. Only in 2017 did Argentina’s Supreme Court, in a divided ruling, declare the unconstitutionality of the Provincial Education Act of Salta, which meant the public schools of that province were no longer able to enforce religious education in the school hours nor were they able to include religious material in the curriculum.