An incident from 10 days ago, when a 35-year-old man entered a public primary school in Anthoupoli, Nicosia, wielding a knife and threatening to hurt teachers and pupils, was confirmed by police on Tuesday.
According to police, the man, a known drug-addict who lives near the school, was arrested after the incident was reported, and committed to the Athalassa psychiatric hospital.
He remained there for three days before being released.
But the incident, as well as the man’s release, sparked alarm among parents and the school’s staff, with the ministry setting up a meeting on Tuesday morning to discuss options.
The 35-year-old, police said, was released with the warning that he will be arrested again if he pulls a similar stunt.
Authorities remain on high alert, in case he tries to return to the school.
“This man entered the school’s premises, and when he was approached by the school’s principal he started making threats,” acting director of primary schools at the education ministry Christos Hadjiathanasiou said.
“He warned that if they ever padlock the school’s gate again, he would start hurting people with the knife.”
At Tuesday’s meeting, Hadjiathanasiou said it was decided that more secure fencing will be placed at compromised spots.
“You know what the gates and the fences at our schools look like – anyone can do this sort of thing easily,” he said.
“The school is already making sure, as it always does, that the kids are always under the watchful eye of the staff, so that they can’t be threatened by anyone considered dangerous.”
Further decisions, Hadjiathanasiou added, were that a higher fence will be put in place by the local school board.
“The school will tell them which spots need to be reinforced, and the school board, in collaboration with our technical services, will take care of it – without turning the school into a prison,” he said.