Cyprus Mail
Cyprus Education

English School board member informs palace on ‘vindictive act of vengeance’

By Andria Kades

A LETTER sent to the presidential palace by an English School board member saying the investigation against a deputy head at the school had turned into a “vindictive act of vengeance” has sparked a denial from chairwoman Magda Nicholson.

Turkish Cypriot board member Sener Elcil on Thursday told the Cyprus Mail he decided to send on the letter to the presidential palace earlier this week which he had given to the board in order to set the record straight.

The contents outline a board decision on August 3 to dismiss the deputy with five voting in favour and two against, something Nicholson outright denies. Four other board members were absent.

“Why would we invite the teacher [in question] to the board meeting on August 26 if we decided to dismiss him?” she told the Cyprus Mail.

Other sources close to the board however say such a vote did take place.

“The decision taken on August 3 will also go down in history as a disgraceful decision” Elcil’s letter said.

Both Elcil and the chairwoman however agree that the board is well and truly divided in two camps.

Asked to discuss the counter allegations by Nicholson, Elcil said “this is a dirty game.”

The disciplinary process against the deputy, which involves an allegation by a female teacher in October 2014 that he bullied her, should have taken two weeks he specified.

According to the chairwoman the delay was due to the fact that different teachers had conflicting timetables and it was difficult to find a convenient time to discuss the matter.

Furthermore, the headmaster responsible for the investigation left the country for a professional trip in January and had to go on a second one in March.

Responding to the question that it had nevertheless been more than a year, Nicholson said this was still no reason to turn the issue into a political one.

She was referring to allegations made by the deputy’s lawyer that he was hounded for his politics, which support rapprochement between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. The case has been filed with the Ombudswoman.

Nicholson said she had a letter from the Teachers Association that said the board had followed the correct procedure, thus counteracting Elcil’s statements that this had taken way too long.

But in another twist, his letter to the presidential palace said the teacher who made the bullying allegation, as well as a witness to that, “are both currently serving on the executive committee of ESSSA (the Teachers Association)”.

“The trade union should have reached a decision leaving these two members out of the process,” Elcil said.

He also believes that on August 26, instead of the dismissal, the deputy “will lose his post and rank as assistant head teacher. This is an unwritten rule and a very harsh penalty almost as severe as dismissal.”

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