A malicious fire at a Limassol high school and a parent-teacher confrontation made headlines on Thursday, one day after a leaked video showed a teacher striking a female student during a heated exchange.
A video that went viral on Tuesday night showed a male teacher at a Limassol high school striking a female student in the face, during a heated exchange. A group of students were reportedly handling a television screen when the teacher asked them where they were taking the monitor, with him trying to stop them while others were pulling on the wire of the device.
“The female student kept pulling and so in my effort to get the monitor out of their hands, regrettably, I raised my hand so I could stop her from pulling,” the teacher said.
The female student in the video asked the teacher why he had struck her, with him replying 'I can strike you again if you don't go away'
While the teacher admitted his mistake, he also suggested during an interview on Wednesday that the incident could have been a setup.
“This might have been on purpose, like a setup so they could get it on camera, because this class is known for their behaviour and expressions they use towards their teachers, which are totally inappropriate many times,” he added.
In the video, the female student is heard complaining and asking the teacher why he struck her. The teacher was heard saying “I can strike you again” while asking her to go away.
Fire in teachers' lounge
On Thursday morning, a cleaning lady at the school became aware of a fire in the teachers’ lounge. She immediately notified the police, according to local media, with officers and fire fighters describing the incident as a malicious act.
A teacher union official, Pantelis Nicolaides, took to social media to describe another incident, saynig that the father of the student who recorded the incident went to the school and confronted the principal.
“Yesterday, a trespassing father went into a school in Limassol like a raging bull and attacked the head teacher,” the union official alleged, adding that the school had to call the police.
While the incident could not be independently verified, it later turned out that the school principal had disciplined the student for using a mobile phone in class. Reports said the student faced expulsion from school but no further details could be confirmed.
The video recorded on the mobile phone had gone viral by Wednesday evening, prompting critics to point fingers at the Education Ministry on a number of problems, ranging from school security to youth delinquency.
A school inspector for Limassol and Paphos, Stelios Theofilou, spoke to 24News, saying that a lax of the rules in class nearing the end of the school year may have contributed to the incident.
But Theofilou was quick to condemn the reaction by the teacher, adding that “we have seen a glimpse of a bigger problem” as school grounds are a direct reflection of society, which stood to take a look in the mirror.
“Nevertheless, there can be no excuse for such a reaction by anyone,” Theofilou said.
An internal investigation of the incident has been ordered by the government, said Theofilou, adding that a ministry administrator will probe into the events that led up to the act of violence.