Police have launched an investigation following complaints of animal abuse and use of firecrackers by pupils at the Paralimni lyceum to mark the start of their final year in school.
There was outrage after reports that some final year pupils had chosen to ‘celebrate’ their first day back in school on Monday by hurling firecrackers and throwing rabbits and chickens from the first floor of the school building, with some of the animals reportedly killed from the fall.
The school’s head teacher officially filed a complaint about the incident with the police on Tuesday morning and gave a statement. Other teachers and pupils also gave statements. It is believed that pupils from other schools were also involved.
Police had already launched a probe on Monday as soon as these actions were brought to their attention, Famagusta police spokesman, Andreas Constantinou told the Cyprus Mail.
“This is a very serious case,” Constantinou said. He added this concerns around 20 persons aged 17 and over.
Videos and photos circulated on social media show parts of the school blanketed in smoke, with some youths running on the first-floor balcony holding flares, while a large banner was hoisted saying: ‘Hornier than ever!’.
Pupil representatives said seniors celebrating the start of their final year in school had become a ‘tradition’.
Member of student body Psem Demetris Palatos told state broadcaster CyBC on Tuesday that the firecrackers was a custom that has been going on for a few years in high schools.
“We understand that is not acceptable by some members of society but in cases where there is no damage, pupils that honoured this custom should not be victimised,” he said.
While refraining from elaborating on the Paralimni case, he said Psem condemns all cases where damage is caused.
The Animal Party denounced the incident which, it said, led to the death of some of the animals thrown off windows before horrified pupils and in the presence of teachers.
The party gave reassurances that they would not let this case slip.
“Whoever is found responsible and guilty of such abhorrent acts, no matter their age and position must be punished,” party leader Kyriacos Kyriacou said.