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19 May, 2024
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School safety issues after unclear incident

Parents call on authorities to act after student’s brother shows up at a Larnaca middle school


A physical altercation at a middle school in Larnaca was behind an impromptu demonstration on Thursday, a day after a teenager went to the school following an argument between his younger brother and others including a teacher.

Police said they were investigating an incident at Vergina Middle School in Larnaca, after officers were dispatched Wednesday around 1:30pm following reports of an incident.

According to details obtained by Knews, an argument took place at the school when three students were refusing to enter a classroom, with the incident ending up pinning students and a teacher against the other students.

There were no confirmed details about the incident but school staff who spoke with police on Thursday said there were minor injuries during Wednesday’s altercation after the elder brother of one of the three students showed up at the school.

But local media painted a different picture after citing reports of a small group of teens holding aggressive instruments, including baseball bats and at least one knife, entering school premises and assaulting two Vergina students.

Police said the brother of a student showed up at the school but local media painted a different picture, citing reports of a small group of teens carrying bats and knives

It was not clear whether the trespassers were high school dropouts or students attending neighboring schools.

A parents association representative at Vergina, Costas Costa, said one of the two injured students needed medical attention while they and other children who witnessed the assault panicked and left the school in tears.

Costa also said students from nearby schools including a local high school would routinely get off the bus outside Vergina, adding that some students had finished exams that day and proceeded to enter the middle school.

“Teachers were not doing any other job all day except trying to get rid of them,” Costa said.

But it was still not fully clear whether Wednesday’s incident was a random visit or the brother had been told to go to the school.

The parent rep also slammed authorities for failing to take measures against violence in schools.

“Last year the House passed unanimously a bill addressing school violence, with formation of committees, monitoring situations, and so on,” he said, adding that piling proposals on the matter and coming up with excuses effectively led nowhere.

Police sources told Knews that officers were investigating the incident while adding there could be additional issues besides policing that should be handled by other agencies.

A small group of PA members held a small demonstration outside the school on Thursday morning, with parents crying foul over conditions at the school, including overcrowding. 

An issue with makeshift and rotating classrooms at the school has also been reported in local media.

Costa said he was always put in a difficult position when parents would call to notify him they would not be sending their children to school over safety concerns.

“We cannot be calling the police. When every day we have trespassing by those not attending the school, whether they are students elsewhere or not, parents cannot be calling the police,” Costa said.

Cyprus  |  Larnaca  |  Vergina  |  school  |  student  |  teacher  |  violence  |  assault  |  police  |  trespassing

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