Barely a week had passed since the start of the school year and in the IES Santa Teresa de Jesús from Madrid a bombshell exploded: Antonio Sanchez, Professor of Ethical Values -the substitute subject of Religion- was questioned for what seemed an attitude “racist”, “sexist” and “Homophobic” in class. Several media outlets echoed these repeated complaints by a small group of parents and students. In case the alleged scandal seemed minor, the case was dismissed by the educational inspection of the Community of Madrid, which got into the matter after the first complaints.
The matter had all the ingredients to be the perfect storm and thus sentence the teacher’s career. The reality, however, is that it is only a campaign concocted by a group of parents and their children with difficulties to pass the demanding Antonio’s subjects. The Ministry of Education he found nothing strange about the teacher’s performance. For its part, EL ESPAÑOL has spoken with several of Antonio’s students who come out in his defense and who contradict the version that has been told so far. They speak of a “conspiracy”.
Beatriz and Ugo They study second year of Baccalaureate. They are Antonio’s students and, in addition, members of the School Council, elected by vote by their peers. On their wrists, both wear an unmistakable bracelet with the republican tricolor flag. “Let it be clear and for the record that we are on the left and this professor is nothing of all that has been said,” warns Ugo. Beatriz, meanwhile, is also a member of the collective LGTBI.
She has been at the Santa Teresa de Jesús, located in the center of the capital, for two years. He remembers the first class with Antonio: “I was scandalized very quickly and he said a comment that ignited me, because I did not understand, to which I quickly raised my hand and began to debate with him. I left class outraged, thinking this guy was an asshole. Over time, I not only say that he is not macho and he is not homophobic, but that he is my favorite teacher ”.
Other students of this small institute of 422 students acknowledge that Antonio drops the odd “left over” in class. That he is provocative and that his style does not leave indifferent. But Ugo explains: “He is someone energetic, he speaks openly, he sometimes criticizes some currents and parties for their inconsistencies, such as the postmodern left, but also the postmodern right. He has never disrespected a student and, obviously, he shows many positions in class, because he wants us to think for ourselves. He is above all a critical teacher and, more than anything, brilliant ”.
So why would some students accuse Antonio of saying things like that “The real bastards are women”? Or that “patriarchy is the best invention of the human being”?
According to Beatriz and Ugo, it all started during the quarantine last year. The teacher, in addition to teaching Ethical Values, does it from Debate and Oratory, Psychology and Philosophy. In one of his classes he left as resources to debate two videos of the right-wing ‘youtuber’ Pigeon bird, akin to the ideas of Vox and an apologist for the traditional right. A father complained.
The father in question is a former professor of Political Science who was expelled from his university in Argentina. “He is one of those who thinks that nothing of a political color other than his can be shown, not even in a debate class,” says Ugo.
Later, the father had another run-in with Antonio. His son did not want to do a job and ended up writing it himself. Antonio found the text presented by the boy suspicious, because it was actually made by a university professor in Political Science. He gave it a zero. The father took this as a personal affront and decided to declare war on him.
Since then, he allied himself with another group of parents whose children complained about Antonio, not so much about his ideology or ways, but about his demands. They never passed their subjects. This is something shared by the rest of the students. Some anonymous boys with whom this newspaper has spoken at the door of the institute say that it is not easy to pass with Antonio. “He’s a tough teacher”says one of them.
The group of parents then formalized a complaint in the School Council to know the failure percentage in Antonio’s subjects. They wanted to detect a pattern to boycott him. Beatriz remembers the heated meeting and said that it was “illegal.” “In subjects like Mathematics there were barely 30% passed and no one made a complaint, but some of those who failed with Antonio wanted to go for him,” he points out.
Then came the harassment in the street for defending the master. Some parents of these students waited for Beatriz – a minor – at the door of the center to pressure her so that she would not defend him any more. “It is not normal for parents to do that,” says the young woman.
For his part, Ugo remembers another similar episode in one of the School Council meetings. There, despite the fact that the subject was avoided, some of these parents brought it up again, sometimes in bad ways with the boys. “One began to yell at me, to tell me everything”, relates Ugo. The director at that time – now there is another – approached the student privately to offer her support.
The children of that group of parents continued to fail Antonio’s subjects. According to Beatriz, the slogan was that they “passed” from studying because, overall, Antonio “was going to be thrown out”. It’s what his parents were convinced of. Things got to such a point that they filed a complaint with the Ministry of Education, which sent a inspection.
She interviewed three of the young people who complained and other randomly chosen students. None of the latter complained about the teacher, as this newspaper has been able to verify at the doors of the institute. The inspection found no evidence and shelved the case.
Despite the students’ account, what is true in the sentences that Antonio supposedly said and that have been denounced by other classmates? Both Ugo and Beatriz were present at the time they spoke and explained that “Have been taken out of context”.
For example, they say that when it is said that Antonio affirmed that patriarchy “is the best invention of the human being” he was referring to “that ancient societies adopted patriarchy as their system of social organization to avoid incest and other forms of violence.” , in Ugo’s words. When he would have assured that “the real bastards are the women”, the young people denounce that in the phrase a “no” is missing before “they are”. And so everything.
Antonio, two students they complained about, was also accused of interrupting their debates. They denounced that he ignored them and raised his voice. To this, Ugo says that the teacher corrected the students and cut them off with a tone of voice that is his own, but “never about the content” of their presentations, but about the way they did it. “In a kind of debate there are opposing positions that must be defended regardless of one’s ideology, but there was never a criticism of what they defended, but how they did it,” he continues.
“Preach the truth”
The accusations against the teacher have generated “an atmosphere of fear and misrepresentation,” according to Beatriz. A third-year ESO student who this year begins to teach with Antonio, declares that her mother plans to go to complain to the principal about what she has heard from him. But the management team and the majority of the faculty do not want to get into controversy. They have not spoken, although as this newspaper has learned, they are on the teacher’s side.
The IES Santa Teresa de Jesús, according to the students, is not suspected of being a center that shelters ‘ultra’ or intolerant political ideas, but rather the opposite. “We are a very ‘hippie’ institute,” says Ugo.
Beyond that group of parents, Antonio is not a man with enemies and, in fact, according to these and other students, “He is a good person”. He is usually seen with other colleagues and also with his own pupils making coffee in bars in the area. EL ESPAÑOL has tried to contact him to find out his version of events, but has received no response.
One of the phrases that his critics remember in one of his many scuffles is the following: “My goal is not for you to be good or bad people. It brings me lazy if you are murderers, criminals or psychopaths. I come here to preach the truth. It matters to me if you know definitions, not what you say on WhatsApp about me, I don’t give a shit and this year I’m going to dedicate myself to two things: corrupting young people and not believing in gods. “
Antonio only made fun of ‘Apology for Socrates’, the work of Plato that recounts the defense of his teacher accused of corrupting the young and not believing in the gods. A defense that Socrates wielded before his enemies sophists, those who, in ancient Greece, only cared about the plot tricks in order to convince and achieve their objectives, even – and usually – at the cost of the truth.