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Teachers want anti-bullying police

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Educators are concerned over the alarming rise of bullying at schools, asking authorities to step up efforts like extending security to secondary education.

Secondary education teachers’ union OELMEK has asked the Education Ministry for security guards now employed at lyceums to be also present at gymnasiums (middle schools).

OELMEK’s call follows a series of bullying incidents, with the latest one involving the beating of a 13-year-old student captured on social media posts.

In a letter to Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou, OELMEK noted that introducing security guards at lyceums has paid off as educators report a decrease in violence involving students.

It is also requesting the government proceeds with filling the positions of 30 educational psychologists, as promised.

The union also demands the ministry strengthens Counselling and Vocational Education services at schools, as their role is considered critical for supporting children who are the victims or perpetrators of bullying.

OELMEK claims the Education Ministry has yet to comply with legislation passed two years ago.

The law deals with incidents of delinquency at schools and introduces specific mechanisms, including the National Coordinating Committee and the Safe School Team.

The House is looking into another two bills to combat bullying at schools.

One was tabled by House Speaker and ruling DISY MP Annita Demetriou and one from opposition party AKEL MP Andreas Pasiourtides.

A survey prepared by the Psychology Department of the University of Cyprus revealed that one in four students at Cypriot schools had fallen victim to bullying.

In November, a Larnaca district court handed an 18-month jail term, suspended for three years, to three men found guilty of causing the death of a 16-year-old boy in 2019 after they had bullied him into consuming large quantities of alcohol.

The three men, now aged 20 from Oroklini, and two 19-year-olds from Larnaca and Livadia, were found guilty of causing Panayiotis Stefani’s death through negligence.