Cyprus Mail

Need for guards at primary schools but abduction reports played down

Parents associations said Wednesday there did not appear to be any issue of child abduction after it emerged that police were investigating two complaints that a man had accosted pupils at two schools in Nicosia.

The chairman of the confederation of parent associations, Sotiris Christophi, told the Cyprus News Agency that one incident had been confirmed as taking place outside a primary school in Aglandjia but there was no question of child abduction.

Christophi said the unknown individual simply asked the child whether his uncle was picking him up.

“The child turned around and left when he was asked the question,” Christophi said. “In the second incident, the individual was seen in the other side of the school, by the fence. He was just seen. There was nothing else.”

Reports on Tuesday said police were investigating two complaints of children being accosted by an unknown individual in Aglandjia.

The matter has once more brought to the fore the need for schools to have guards during certain times of the day.

“From the first moment we’ve been discussing the guard issue we always considered the very dangerous hours at primary schools to be 7am to 8am and 1pm to 2pm, the time the incident took place,” Christophi said. “The incident happened at 1.10pm but we are not talking about abduction.”

He said the incident happened when the children finished school, in front of other parents and grandparents.

Primary school teachers said there were still schools without high fences whose installation had been decided in 2018 following the abduction of two pupils in Larnaca.

“For example, there are still schools where the fencing has not been finished and I ought to say that the particular schools (where the incidents took place) do not have high fences,” the head of their union, Phylios Phylactou said, adding that most primary schools did not have guards, even during the so-called high-risk times.



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