The gesture was simple but compassionate -- and very pro-life.
Teachers have a vocational component to their job that goes beyond the stipulations of their contract and their academic knowledge. They often do much more than what is required of them, because they’re committed to their students’ learning and want a better future for them.
No doubt this is what motivated Julio Cruz, an Argentinean teacher, to hold a student’s baby in his arms in the classroom. It was the child of a high school senior who brought her son to class because she had no way to leave him in anyone else’s care while she was at school.
The story dates back to 2019, but it has been making the rounds again on social media and other websites. Perhaps this is because of its uplifting school-centered message at a time when going back to school under persistent pandemic conditions has been a complicated and stressful situation.
The mother, Moira Hinojosa, says in a post on Facebook that all the teachers, not just Cruz, reacted well to her bringing her son to school.
“He and they are a great source of pride for Argentine education. They’re people who don’t care what other people will say, and they help those who need it,” she wrote. She never felt obliged to be absent from school during her pregnancy; “each and every one” of the educators “were at my side, supporting me and helping at the moments when I needed it most,” she says with gratitude.
“When I started bringing Santino, none of them told me I couldn’t have him there with me. Not only that; they didn’t want him to be absent at any time” because they loved seeing him, “and their affection kept growing as he did,” she wrote.
Julio Cruz stands out in the photos she shared, because he not only welcomed the boy into his classroom, but even carried him in his own arms while teaching so that the mom could focus on the class material and take notes more easily. The teacher himself shared photos with the toddler, captioned, “My smallest student (…) Spectacularly well behaved. He accompanies his mother to classes. Blessings, Santino Benjamin.”
Coverage of this story in Perfil points to a Facebook publication by another former student, Ariel Bahiano Figueroa, who notes that Cruz is known for his compassion. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is vocation and generosity. Those of us who know him, know his capacity, willingness, humility, and above all generosity,” he writes. “I hope there are more like you, Prof. Julio Cruz, who make the students learn values … This isn’t new, and for that, my congratulations and may there be more teachers like this!”
A better future for the young mother
This welcome and support was one more lesson from this experienced teacher, who showed empathy by understanding the young girl’s situation and knowing that his task, beyond what his contract might stipulate, was to help the student.
These photographs of Julio Cruz and other school staff holding little Santino shows the kind of support that makes a better future possible for a young mother and her family. It’s an example of a true pro-life attitude that welcomes children and adapts to the needs of young families.