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Cyprus Education featured

School safety in the spotlight after boy’s death

Study will look into ways to diminish safety risks at school

Education Minister Costas Hambiaouris said on Wednesday he has received the findings of the investigation he had ordered into the accident of 10-year-old Stavros Giorgallis who died on Friday after falling while playing basketball at school.

Following the death of the boy, the minister ordered a probe into the circumstances at the school where the accident occurred.

Hambiaouris said that he would study the findings and decide accordingly.

“I will study it with our legal consultant and the permanent-secretary of the education ministry. We will look at the findings and we will act accordingly,” Hambiaouris said.

The accident occurred on Friday morning at the Alethriko primary school in the Larnaca district, during physical education. The 10-year-old fell while playing basketball and hit his head.

He was rushed to Larnaca general hospital by his mother, where doctors at the A&E department ran tests and conducted an X-ray but no CT scan. The doctors found nothing wrong at the time and the boy was sent home. He was rushed back two hours later in critical condition.

A radiologist later found that the X-ray showed a skull fracture, according to police.

Following a CT scan in Larnaca, Giorgallis was rushed to Nicosia general for surgery after the scan showed a haematoma. The boy died on the operating room table.

The incident has raised concerns over the level of safety in schools.

The head of the House education committee, Disy’s Kyriacos Hadjiyiannis, said that they would begin discussion on the matter.

Following a briefing on the incident behind closed doors on Wednesday, Hadjiyiannis said that the best memorial for the 10-year-old “would be to make all those necessary corrections for diminishing any risk within school premises”.

Hadjiyiannis said that school head teachers ought to carry out risk analysis for measures to be taken “without delay”.

Greens’ MP, Giorgos Perdikis, said that the death of the pupil brought to the fore the issue of first aid training in state and private schools.

Perdikis said that, according to a reply he had received in 2016 by the then education minister following a question he had submitted, pupils are considered to be visitors in schools and therefore they are not covered by the law on health and safety at the work place.

He called on the education minister and the head of the House education committee to look into the matter “with the due seriousness to avoid mourning more victims”.

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