El Palau is a secondary school in Sant Andreu de la Barca where nine teachers are currently being investigated by the Prosecutor’s office for allegedly “humiliating” the children of Spanish Guardia Civil officers the day after the referendum of October 1. Several children whose Guardia Civil parents are stationed in Sant Andreu attend El Palau. Last night someone spray-painted slurs on the school walls aimed at the nine teachers: “nazis”, “scum” and “separatists”.
The teachers’ support group posted a message on Twitter decrying the attempt to “split up our school and destroy our students’ social cohesion by naming names”.
The graffiti appeared the day after Madrid-based newspaper El Mundo revealed the names and photographs of the nine members of staff who are being investigated. Controversy over the exposé went up a notch when Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera tweeted the story and used it to slam Mariano Rajoy’s government for failing to discipline the nine teachers who are currently being investigated over alleged hate crimes.
Los maestros separatistas que señalaron públicamente a hijos de @guardiacivil en Cataluña. La fiscalía les investiga por delitos de odio, pero el Gobierno de España dice que no les abrirá expediente. Con cobardía nunca se vence al nacionalismo. https://t.co/LOaSxV36El— Albert Rivera (@Albert_Rivera) 29 d’abril de 2018
Rivera’s post prompted many replies on social networks, accusing him of singling out teachers who —so far— have been found guilty of no crimes. Furthermore, some users criticised the Ciudadanos leader for doing with these teachers —whose actual names and pictures were printed in the newspaper article— the same as he had criticised in the past, when the homes of unionist leaders were spray-painted.
This morning Ciudadanos MP in Catalonia Lorena Roldán tried to play down the controversy and stated that the graffiti “shows that there is an obvious social divide in Catalonia and that is why we urge the pro-independence parties to form a government”. “It is necessary for society’s wounds to heal up and these incidents, which we have experienced ourselves in the past, should never happen”, she noted. Roldán censured the perpetrators of the graffiti, which “might constitute a hate crime and we decry that, regardless of who is responsible. That is why we urge the pro-independence parties to condemn these actions”.
Tomorrow, May 1, there will be a demonstration at noon in Sant Andreu’s town hall square to support the teachers who are being probed. Interestingly, local education affairs are managed by a Ciudadanos councillor in Sant Andreu de la Barca’s local government.