“Savage fight between female students, he hit her furiously on the head”, “female student beaten with a stick in Paphos High School, she was kicked in the face”, “female student was severely beaten after a fight in Paphos”, “female student was severely beaten in Paphos High School, kicked in the face face', 'images of shame in a school, wild wood between female students, furious blows to the head for a boy's eyes'. These were the media headlines for the latest shameful episode of school violence. And it is shameful for many reasons, since not only did it happen inside a school, where students are taught that dialogue is the only solution, but also because it happened in front of others, who watched and participated, laughing or encouraging the degrading image, because it sold and they would have stories to tell their parents and friends, making them the dudes who were present in the episode.
The images of shame in the High School of the Pafos district, bring to mind an incident we watched before the Presidential elections. At the enthronement of the prelate of the Church of Cyprus, in the forecourt of the Apostle Barnabas Cathedral, the then candidate for the Republic, Celestina Di Petro, walked carefree. A father with his children approach her to talk and a group of journalists approached her. Then we heard the one child asking her to take action for schools, to stop bullying in schools.
This child had heard a presidential candidate promise to abolish the heavy and admittedly unwieldy school bag, but wanted to hear about bullying and ways it can be stopped or controlled. And this shows the decline of society and perhaps the educational system, that children strongly feel the need to ask for measures to deal with bullying within school units. The latest incident, unfortunately, is not the first of the year and it certainly won't be the last.
This school year, images of shame in schools have caused intense concern, since the first half of the current school year has been marked by incidents of students attacking their classmates, such as the brutal bullying of a 13-year-old, in a Limassol High School, by a mother attacking students , outside school, because her daughter was being made fun of, by a teacher attacking a student, because he was making a fuss outside his school, by students attacking other students who were waiting outside their school to go on a field trip and had molotov cocktails thrown at them, but from both cases of sexual harassment of female students by teachers, with one of them being quite disturbing and this was evident from the volume of testimonies received by the Police.
The second half started the same way. Schoolgirls were caught red-handed, with one of them furiously hitting her classmate on the face and head, not caring about the consequences. Consequences that fortunately did not exist in the first place, since after the wood the student ate, she got up, dusted herself off and was taken to the Principal's office, where she was confronted by her classmate, their parents and the Principal and they decided to solve it between themselves, without report to the Police.
Flogging of a female student at school pic.twitter.com/5bQlnmp2kO
— Reporter (@Reporter_cy) February 7, 2023
However, this is not the point that should concern us. What he should be concerned about is the attitude of the other students. They watched, laughed, cheered, supported and reveled in the image before them. A worrying attitude, since it reveals that there are gaps in the education they receive within the educational units. Gaps for which the professors and teachers are not responsible, but the program and the quality of the courses taught. And for these, the responsibility lies with the political leader and his team, who are responsible for reacting and taking a stand, before it is too late.
The political leader in a few days will be different, but the situation in schools will be the same. His successor is called upon to find the solution, which will be an antidote to this particular situation. The next Minister of Education is called upon to find that way that will radically change the image, improve the situation and send the message that such phenomena have no place in schools.
And the weight may be a lot and at first it seems impossible to lift. However, this should not be a deterrent for anyone. The views that schools are part of society and are a microcosm of it, as heard during the tenure of the outgoing Government, must stop being perpetuated and reproduced. Maybe it's time to change that image and make the school community the example that the rest of society should follow.
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