The education community is in uproar over the recent police visits to a number of schools, with teachers and parents alleging that in some cases, school students were called to provide explanations regarding school occupations.

The Central Police HQ recently issued an order for police departments to visit local schools in order to document any problems or demands. Amongst the police instructions however there is an order to “establish personal contacts and meetings with school principles” and report back any findings.

So far teacher and parent unions have reported that police officers have visited schools in Agia Paraskevi, Psychico and Kallithea. The school principles were not told the reason of the visit and were asked to provide the telephone numbers of teachers. The Efimerida ton Syntakton newspaper has noted that there are many reports of police officers harassing elementary and nursery school teachers over the phone.

According to the newspaper report, the police asked students about the political beliefs of their parents and students, their financial situation, whether they were in favor of the strikes and whether they were urged by teachers or political parties to occupy their school. In one case, the principle of a high school in Keratsini named seven students who participated in the school’s occupation in October, with five of them being summoned by the police to provide explanations. The latest information suggests that the case will go to court.

These serious allegations have caused the reaction of SYRIZA, with the opposition condemning “the unacceptable tactic of turning schools into places of manipulation, control and terror against principles and teachers. The surveillance of the operation of schools is the exclusive responsibility of the Ministry of Education and any intervention of the Ministry of Public Order constitutes an antidemocratic aberration from orderly educational function”.