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Gov’t Considers Lowering Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility after School Incidents

Péter Cseresnyés 2020.02.04.

The tightening of the Criminal Code’s regulation should be considered, and if needed, the minimum age of criminal responsibility shall be lowered, according to the Secretary of State for Public Education. Also, in order to curb the increasing number of violent incidents against teachers in educational institutions, the government is also planning to appoint school guards and set up security camera systems.

Reflecting on the school segregation case of Gyöngyöspata, Zoltán Maruzsa said at a press conference in Gyöngyöspata on Monday: “To ensure smooth working conditions, we must protect teachers carrying out their work.”

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According to MTI’s report, the secretary of state said that the school segregation issue in Gyöngyöspata and the recent abuse of a teacher at a school in Nagykáta, clearly show that violence against teachers in educational institutions has been worsening.

To counter this tendency, the government is planning to set up school security, and build security camera systems in the educational institutions that are of concern and also in need of it, the state secretary added.

Maruzsa emphasized that the primary goal of this initiative is not to criminalize and punish the perpetrators, but to prevent these incidents.

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Since the majority of abuse of teachers is committed by young people between the ages of 12 and 14, lowering the age limit of criminal responsibility should be taken into consideration, he noted.

According to government critical weekly Magyar Hang, it likely means the government would extend the age of full criminal responsibility from the age of 12.

Fact

In Hungary, people can be held criminally responsible for any offense committed from the age of 14, and from the age of 12 for certain serious, violent crimes (homicide, voluntary manslaughter, battery, robbery, plundering) provided that the child had the capacity to understand the nature and consequences of their actions.

Zoltán Maruzsa believes that a final court decision made in the case of the Gyöngyöspata school segregation does not show the responsibility of the parents for the school violence, while it denounces the institution.

Orbán on Gyöngyöspata Case: Gov’t Sides with Decent, Working Hungarians

The school segregation case in Gyöngyöspata received great media attention after Prime Minister Viktor Orbán talked about it during his international press conference back in January. The PM called it outrageous that Romas would receive hundreds of millions in compensation “without working for it in any way.”  The issue then provoked serious public debate.

Featured photo by Péter Komka/MTI