The whole planet has begun to count backwards, to say goodbye to 2022 and welcome 2023 and another year, which brought a lot of what is wrong with schools to the surface, bids us farewell. The start of the new school year was not only smooth, with the first semester of 2022 being quite loaded, in terms of incidents of violence and bullying in schools, with what has seen the light of day nothing resembling school units.
From the first days it became clear that the school year would not be like the others, as the dramas started all over again, involving teachers, principals and students. Although more than four months have passed since then, no one can forget the first day of the school year, when sixty students, instead of sitting at their desks, had to leave the school, as they had been expelled for… hair. The uproar that followed, with the Ministry of Education saying they were just recommendations and the parents disproving them by publishing the expulsion document, gave a first indication of what was to come.
No one, however, expected that the sequel would not only not remind of schools, but would make everyone doubt whether there is education or not in school units. Incidents of violence, flares in school units, attacks by students on their classmates, injuries, throwing Molotov cocktails at a group of students by other students, are just a few of the incidents that have seen the light of day, while allegations of sexual harassment by teachers on female students have caused intense reflection and worry.
And while all of this shut down the social media and the mass media, with parents and the whole society watching the developments with intense anxiety, from the point of view of the authorities, the reactions arrived with the dropper. In particular, there were very few cases that did not leave room for the minister and his associates to avoid any comment, with the positions, however, being structured and comprehensive enough, so that one cannot understand their intentions and whether they are worried or not for the prevailing situation.
However, 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 high school in Limassol, an attack by a mother on students outside the school because they were making fun of her daughter, an attack a teacher to a student for making a fuss outside his school, from students attacking other students who were waiting outside their school to go on a field trip and throwing Molotov cocktails at them, but also from the two cases of sexual harassment of female students by teachers, one of them to be quite alarming and this was evident from the volume of testimonies received by the Police.
One could say that it is common for students to “teas” each other, but when these incidents tend to get out of hand, then it should be cause for concern as to the examples students are receiving. The fact that in several of the incidents that occurred in the last four months, within the school units, there was involvement of teachers and parents, should ring a bell to the experts, so that appropriate measures can be taken to prevent a repetition.
The laws passed by Parliament could contribute to this, as the debate on the criminalization of bullying is ongoing, both at the social level and at the school level, and despite the reactions heard during the initial discussion of the issue, it seems that there is an urgent need to pass a law, so that it is a deterrent, which will lead to the reduction of these incidents. The question, however, is whether after the passing of the law, it will be implemented or not by the authorities, as in the previous period, it was heard from the seats of the Parliament that a law passed, the law 2020 on violence in schools, has not yet been implemented in its entirety, but some aspects of it.
In the meantime, the law on sex education passed by the House of Representatives before it closes for Christmas could be an important weapon in the quiver of those in charge, as this way children will be able to know when they are at risk and not every situation is innocent. Despite the reactions and competitiveness observed around this issue and given that the President of the Republic did not issue the specific law, the Ministry of Education and all the agencies involved are invited to cooperate with the well-intentioned interest of the children in mind. < /p>
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