The secondary school principals’ association (Sedmek) on Wednesday condemned acts of delinquency by students and called for decisive action to combat such instances – the frequency of which has risen dramatically.

On Tuesday police and the fire service were called out to the latest incident at a secondary school in Ayia Fyla in Limassol, where students set alight car tyres and flung them into the school grounds.

“We condemn the conduct of a small portion of hooded students, who copying the worst [football hooligans’] attitudes, consider it their right to hold schools ‘hostage’ by setting fires, throwing firecrackers, vandalising everything in their path, ignoring teachers’ instructions […] and nullifying schools’ efforts to educate,” the announcement said.

The principals said that although such behaviours do not represent most students, they are extremely disturbing and offend society, as well as the school community.

“We call on parents, the ministry of education, the police, and all involved services and agencies, to engage in joint action [and] practical support towards drastic reduction of these phenomena,” Sedmek said.

Schools are spaces that are due protection by the state inside and out, the statement said.

“Schools are [pupils] first contact and experience [of socialisation] and adaptation to [collective norms] which is required of every civilized person. As far as education is concerned, the forest as well as the tree must be saved [because] right now, both are in danger,” the statement concluded.