The growing trend of final-year Lyceum students partying on school grounds on the eve of the academic year is to be policed, school heads, both for and against the practice, said on Thursday.
With high schools due to reopen on Friday, the education ministry and the school district boards gave headmasters the go-ahead to hire private security guards to patrol schools on Thursday night.
This new ‘tradition’ involves the preparation of a banner with a message from final-year students to the rest of the school. The banner is then raised in a high location, often on the roof of the school. Some students have also organised barbecues accompanied by beers and firecrackers to celebrate the start of their last high school year.
“This American tradition is not part of this school” said the headmistress of Kykkos B, Panayiota Chrysostomou. “We want students to have a good night’s rest so they come in the day after with a clear head and ready for the new academic year. This ever-so popular trend will end this year, as the school will be patrolled by guards and the police have also been notified to stay alert. School bags will also be checked for firecrackers in the morning.”
Other schools appeared to be more lenient, at least about part of the activities, but are taking the ministry’s advice to have a guard on the premises during the night.
“We consider the trend to be actually positive, as students seem to be excited for the opening of schools,” said Demetris Taliadoros, headmaster of Kykkos A, a neighbouring school.
“We want to allow some time for the third-year students to cheer, before the first bell of the year rings and then they calm down.”
The headmaster of M. Koutsofta and Andrea Panayide (Paleometocho) high school, Nikos Protopapas, said he has helped students put up the banner for the past three years but that was the limit of what they were allowed.
Last year, however, some students entered the school grounds and started a barbecue, prompting the headmaster to call the police and notify parents to come and take them home.
“The students promised to clean up and they kept their promise” Protopapas said. “Students were at school on time and sober,” he added. However, he said he understands the ministry’s effort to stop the growing trend. “Our aim is to protect the students from anything bad happening, such as a fall from the roof.”
The ministry could not be reached for comment.