The suspension of around 50 students due to their haircuts from the Petrakis Kyprianou gymnasium violated current educational legislation and children’s rights, the Larnaca federation of parents and guardians of secondary and technical school students said on Saturday.
The federation condemned in the strongest terms the suspension of the students on the first day of school on Wednesday.
They said the suspensions “clearly violate the current educational legislation and are not in line with the provisions contained in the convention of the rights of the child”.
The school management interprets the regulation in an “arbitrary and degrading manner”, the parents added.
In the event that similar behaviour is repeated the reaction of organised parents will be even more dynamic, their announcement said.
On Wednesday, president of the parents’ association of Larnaca Costas Costa said the decision of the headmaster to call parents to pick up their children over inappropriate haircuts was “unacceptable”.
He said it was a matter of ethics and the responsibility of the education ministry to issue the requisite guidelines. The Larnaca district officer for the ministry had been informed, he added.
The incident occurred at the same school where in June this year, five students were banned from graduating, again due to their haircuts. The headmaster was accused of racism as one of the students was Syrian and the media focus was on his case.
After the graduation incident, Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou first conceded that there was racism in schools, only to retract his comments the next day.
Following a meeting with the association of secondary school headteachers, Prodromou noted that the incident at the Petraki Kyprianou high school was put on the table and stressed that the decision not to give a Syrian student a diploma was about his appearance, not racism.
The education minister said at the time that regulations on appearance apply to all students regardless of their nationality. Reports said five other students, all Greek Cypriots were also refused their diplomas for the same reason. The students who did not comply with the dress code were only given their certificates after the ceremony rather than being presented it on stage.