By Angelos Anastasiou
A 45-year-old teacher was charged and released by police after being accused of hitting a 10-year-old pupil for not washing the brushes after art class on Friday, but teacher union POED claimed the incident may have been linked to the system of employing teachers for optional all-day schools.
Accompanied by his father, the little boy told police on Friday that his art teacher struck him after art class, because he had not washed the brushes. The alleged incident took place at the Sotira All-day Primary School, in Famagusta.
The boy’s father said his son had suffered a broken nose and needed surgery. “Unfortunately it wasn’t one or two slaps,” he told the state broadcaster, describing the incident as a beating.
Questioned by police after his arrest, the teacher said he will speak in court.
Education Minister Costas Kadis promptly stated that teachers who beat pupils have “no place in school”, and confirmed that if police investigations reveal any truth to the boy’s claims, the teacher will be summarily fired as teachers at all-day schools are employed on contract.
Meanwhile, in a statement on Sunday, POED concurred that violence inside schools is “absolutely unacceptable”, especially when aimed at children.
“A school is a place of joy, learning, and proper character-building through pedagogical methods,” the union said.
“As a result, any form of violence, physical or mental, cannot be tolerated.”
Demanding a full investigation by the government authorities, POED cautioned that attempted generalisation of teachers’ behaviour, sparked by this incident, would be “unfortunate and unfair”.
At the same time, it said, it will once more ask the education minister to re-examine the new-found policies employed in covering the needs of all-day schools, involving the employment of teachers on term contracts.
“This causes significant problems in the operation of the schools, and the cohesion and effectiveness of education, as well as a series of other issues that we have brought before the ministry, unfortunately to no avail,” the union said.
POED added that it plans to ask for all stakeholders concerned to convene for exhaustive discussion and decision-making.