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Guards to be placed in schools in wake of attacks

deftera school 03
Investigators at the Deftera school on Thursday (Christos Theodorides)

The government on Friday decided to place guards at some schools after hours and increase police patrols in the wake of a bombing and an arson at two primary schools and one recorded assault against a headteacher over mask and test mandates involving children.

The decision was made during a meeting between the education and justice ministers, the police, and the union of primary school teachers Poed.

“We want open and safe schools,” Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou said after the meeting.

The meeting decided to establish an open line between the education ministry and the police to report incidents promptly, as well as posting guards at certain schools, and increase police patrols.

Installing alarms and security cameras was also mooted.

“Teachers are the soul of a school who will keep them open despite the pandemic,” Prodromou said.

He said the measures were not permanent, likely to last a couple of months, and will be put in place as soon as possible.

The measures follow a bomb attack at a Limassol primary school, which caused damage, and an arson at a primary school in Nicosia.

A second device place at the Zakaki school in the early morning hours of Thursday had failed to go off. Another explosive device had been placed at the education ministry’s district office in Limassol, but it had also failed to go off.

The attacks came amid protests by some parents against the government decision to mandate masks and rapid tests for primary school children.

MP Pavlos Mylonas also reported that a headteacher had been beaten on Monday by the father of a pupil who was not allowed entry into the facility because of refusal to adhere to the measures.

Mylonas said the teacher was too scared to report the case to police.

Justice Minister Stephie Dracou said authorities will clamp down on such incidents provided they were brought to their attention.

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