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School Security Guards Placed in 500 Schools in September

Ábrahám Vass 2020.07.16.

In total, 491 Hungarian institutions will get a school security guard starting from the next school year, according to the newly-published list. There is, however, still a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the new system.

Out of the 491 institutions- 33 in Budapest- 288 are primary schools, the remaining 203 are vocational schools. In Budapest, this ratio is 13 to 20.

While browsing the list, the over-representation of the Eastern regions, at least in the case of primary schools, is apparent, confirming long-time tendencies and experts’ findings.

Another point of interest is that both the (otherwise highly-ranked) secondary school in Győr where perhaps the most shocking incident of recent times happened, and the one in Gyöngyöspata, where the government was recently ordered to pay a compensation for segregation and which case highly contributed to the implementation of the system, are included on the list.

According to left-wing daily Népszava’s report, there are certain schools that would get a guard against their will or due to a misunderstanding. Another school reportedly opted for the guard in order to resolve a doorman shortage.

The Ministry of Human Capacities (EMMI) claimed that participating in the initiative was voluntary. If a school included in the list doesn’t want a school guard, or decides to request one at a later time, can easily do so. Slightly contradictory to this, the PM’s Chief of Staff, Gergely Gulyás, said at his regular press briefing that if a school declares no need for guards, they should contact the Interior Ministry and their request will be assessed and discussed. He, however, does not find it “realistic” for a school to refuse the presence of a security guard.

School guards will be officially employed by the police, and will have the right to use physical restraints, pepper spray, batons, and even handcuffs. Besides defending teachers, they would be authorized to intervene both in inter-student conflicts, or in conflicts between parents and teachers, or parents and students, call the police, and confiscate items, but can only proceed within the school’s boundaries and during school hours. They will be present at all times in the institutions.

Professional organizations have long criticized the implementation of guards, saying that their presence wouldn’t resolve the issues in depth. In addition, the guards, who only need four weeks of training to start working, are being offered a higher salary than an entry-level teacher with a college degree.

featured image illustration via Csaba Krizsán/MTI