Melkonian students threatened with expulsion

Melkonian students threatened with expulsion

Phileleftheros daily – Friday, March 18, 2004

By Christina Kyriakidou

NICOSIA – Melkonian students are facing the risk of being expelled,
according to Masis der Parthogh, the vice president of the school’s
Alumni Association.

In statements he made to this newspaper, Mr. der Parthogh argued that
officials of the Armenian General Benevolent Union based in New York,
have sent warning messages that they would expel any school children
who take part in any activities or demonstrations opposed to the
Melkonian’s closure.

The same students, however, seem fearless of any repercussions as
yesterday and the day before they stayed away from classes.
Furthermore, they are getting ready to take part in a large
demonstration on Wednesday organized by the Alumni and the Parents
Association. As said by the vice president of the Alumni, whose
daughter is also a student at the school, the children have lost their
will to attend classes, as they know that in fifteen months’ time,
their school will be shut down. He added, however, that the Armenian
community of Cyprus will not give up so easily and is resorting to use
every legal means possible to overturn the decision made by the AGBU a
few days ago.

Meanwhile, according to our information, the Alumni Association
recently sent a letter to the Presidential Palace, protesting the fact
that the agency that is handling the public relations for AGBU, has
strong ties to a leading political state official.

As reported earlier, the Union’s decision is to terminate the
Melkonian’s operations in June 2005, with the excuse that “the
educational institute no longer corresponds to the challenges within
the parameters of the present day mission of the Armenian people.”

Also, one of the rumoured scenarios is for the Boarding House to close
in June 2005 and the Melkonian to continue as a day school for
Armenian Cypriots. This will result in the student body dropping from
206 today to only 60 (as the remainder come from foreign countries and
until now reside in the boarding house). Based on the projections of
the community, the drastic reduction of the number of students will
lead to a final closure of the school and sale of the 125,000 sq.m. of
land that comprises this property.

(Translated from Greek)