Mexico school where 26 died in quake won't reopen, pending investigation

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Mexico’s Education Department has revoked the permits of an elementary and middle school where a wing of the building collapsed in the recent magnitude 7.1 earthquake, killing 26 people.

Education Secretary Aurelio Nuno said Monday that the privately run Enrique Rebsamen school in Mexico City, which has been closed since the Sept. 19 quake, will be prohibited from operating.

“There is an open investigation by the Mexico City prosecutor’s office, and until responsibility is assigned, we are going to maintain this prohibition,” Nuno told Radio Formula.

He said that while what remains of the campus is unusable, authorities wanted to ensure the school did not try to reopen elsewhere.

Mexico Earthquake

Search and rescue efforts are shown on Sept. 21 at the Enrique Rebsamen school in Mexico City, Mexico. (Rebecca Blackwell/Associated Press)

Prosecutors are investigating the school’s owner. Complaints have also been filed against government officials who allegedly ignored warnings about unauthorized construction at the school that may have been responsible for the collapse.

Death toll rises again

The Education Department offered Sunday to help families place their children in other schools. Nineteen children and seven adults died at Enrique Rebsamen.

On Monday, Civil Defence co-ordinator Luis Felipe Puente announced via Twitter that the death toll from the quake had risen by one to 363, including 221 in Mexico City.

Authorities are still inspecting schools to make sure they are safe, and Nuno said it will likely be two weeks before all are back in session. He said decisions on how students will make up the lost time will be left to state governments.


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