Friday 24 September 2021

Teacher Marries 15 Year Old Student, And All Legal in Costa Rica

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(QCOSTARICA) The Ministry of Education (MEP) has launched and investigation to verify a marriage between a 40 year old teacher and her 15 year old student.

The marriage is to have taken place in Perez Zeledon, the teacher and student being identified by their last names, Rojas Elizondo and Hernandez, respectively.

Teacher may be fired for immoral, unethical and unprofessional conduct, but the union is not illegal.

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According to Sonia Marta, Minister of Education, “we will take immediate and medium-term measures permitted me once the report is in and have all the facts of the case.”
However, it could be weeks before any detailed of the “very detailed” investigation,.

Both teacher and student are in the Colegio Técnico Profesional San Isidro, in Perez Zeledon.

The teacher-student relationship is a problem for the MEP. Pablo Zúñiga, adviser to the Minister said the teacher could have violated the duty of every teacher of violating the Code of Ethics of the profession.

“In the present case it could determined as a loss of the suitability of the person to exercise the teaching profession. A disciplinary process is opened for any improper relationships with a minor and for the dereliction of duty (…) the teacher could end up being fired.” said Zuniga.

But the marriage is not illegal.

The Civil Registry (Registro Civil) confirmed the marriage was registered last July 4.

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In Costa Rica, a minor of 15 years of age can enter into matrimony with an adult if there is parental or guardian consent.  Important to note here, parental or guardian consent must be given without conditions, such as the parent or guardian receiving a benefit from the adult in allowing the union.

In this case, according to a television news report with the father of the boy, who is upset at the situation, says the boy’s mother provided the consent.

Closing the loophole. Currently there is a draft law waiting legislative approval to prohibit the marriage of minors, establishing a prison term of four years for those who maintain a relationship with a minor with an age difference of five years or more.

Why does a minor want to marry? Aside from the obvious reasons of a relationship, in Costa Rica, right now, a 15 year-old, for example, becomes an “adult” in the eyes of the law if he or she marries.

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