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Hundreds of teachers accused of dancing with strippers at school retreat in Paraguay

By Sanie Lopez Garelli, For CNN
November 6, 2013 -- Updated 1036 GMT (1836 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A video shows teachers dancing with strippers at the retreat
  • Teachers had permission to miss class for the April event
  • Paraguay's education ministry is investigating
  • Union leader suggests punishing organizers, sending them to a spiritual retreat

Asuncion, Paraguay (CNN) -- A scandal erupted in Paraguay after hundreds of teachers were accused of dancing with strippers during an official retreat.

The country's top education official has said she's investigating after a cell phone video showing teachers dancing with strippers was leaked to Paraguayan media, where headlines have described the event as an "erotic party."

The teachers had permission to miss class and participate in team-building activities at a retreat outside the country's capital of Asuncion. But according to an investigation by the Ministry of Education and Culture, they didn't just discuss lesson plans or teaching at the April retreat.

A cell phone video provided to CNN affiliate Telefuturo shows shirtless male strippers dancing with female teachers at the event as onlookers cheer and music blares.

Some 800 teachers attended the event, officials said.

"The concern is, well, education is an essential service. So what are our motives for suspending classes? Well, for a day of training, right? Apparently with a union license. The content should be tied to educational priorities," Education Minister Marta Lafuente said.

The Education Ministry is investigating 79 school directors who participated in the retreat, which took place at a ranch about 25 kilometers (15 miles) outside the capital.

According to some school officials, the strippers' performances were not part of the event's official program and happened without the consent of the organizers.

The president of the National Union of Directors of Public Institutions described the event as immoral and called for those responsible to be punished.

First, the event's organizers should be sanctioned, union director Miguel Marecos said. But officials, he said, should take the punishment a step further.

"Then, take them to a spiritual retreat," he said, "and talk to them a bit about values."

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