By Evie Andreou
CHILDREN’S Rights Commissioner Leda Koursoumba has called for an immediate probe into the three-hour detention last Friday of a Nicosia high school student for showing up in a track suit instead of the school uniform.
Koursoumba, who responded to a complaint on Monday addressed to her and Education minister Costas Kadis by the students’ co-ordinating committee (PSEM) expressed her annoyance and concern over the incident.
According to the PSEM letter, the student went to school with a track suit because his uniform’s pants were torn before leaving home and he didn’t have a second one to change into.
He was sent for detention to the school’s library by a teacher, despite the fact that the student’s mother verified the fact when the teacher called her, PSEM said in the letter.
“In Cyprus where we have food banks and 13,000 needy students, unemployment and poverty, how can such behaviour exist, without a trace of humanity and understanding,” the PSEM letter said.
The organisation asked the minister and the commissioner to investigate the incident and for the Education ministry to issue guidelines for all schools to be more understanding in such cases.
The commissioner, acknowledging the students’ demand, asked the ministry to investigate whether the student has a history of systematic deviation from the specific rules concerning uniform and how often.
If no such history exists, Koursoumba said, a reason must be given by the teacher why the other measures, such as dialogue, observation, reprimand, written agreement between teacher and student, written reprimand and parent notification or performing schoolwork community service were not considered.
Koursoumba also wants to know to what extent the student’s and his mother’s explanations were taken into consideration before the disciplinary measure was enforced and if so, why were they not deemed sufficient.
“The matter of disciplinary control of students and how it is applied in schools is an issue the commissioner has received several complaints about”, the letter said.
Koursoumba’s letter said that the matter is being investigated based on the principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.