Several children from Egypt's Ezbat Beshri, Minya Governorate reportedly were beaten for wearing a cross.

The International Christian Concern (ICC) reported that the said children, who are students of the Al-Thawra school, were initially ordered by the headmaster and other teachers to remove the jewelry they wore that had a cross on it. After the said jewelry was removed, the children were then beaten by their teachers and by other students.

"Christian students at Al-Thawra school in Ezbat Beshri, Minya Governorate, were ordered to remove any jewelry bearing a cross and later beaten. The school's headmaster and other teachers made the order, after which students and teachers alike beat some of the Christian students," the ICC said.

Accordingly, the incident happened early this month and involved a female teacher encouraging other students to attack a Christian student after she herself did so. The teacher ordered the other students to take the said student's cross pendant and destroy it.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), on the other hand, highlighted that the students who beat up the Christian child for his cross jewelry are Muslims. CSW cited a report by Christian journalist Nader Shokry stating that the said incident is under investigation, which is expected to be faster now that it did before.

"There is an investigation and the directorate of education is following up the incident. Things have changed from the past, sectarian incidents still occur but there is a quick response now and things are dealt with more quickly," Shokry said.

Shokry explained that it is common for Coptic Christians to wear crosses in a chain around their neck as a testament to their faith. Shokry noted the need for "quick action" from the school's director on the incident done by the "extremist teachers" as it has ignited "sectarianism inside Al-Thawra School in Izbeh Bcharre in the village of Atsa Samalut in Minya."

"When the matter was announced among the Muslim students, which caused (an uproar and chaos), the Muslim students chased their Coptic colleagues to cut crosses and throw them on the ground--an exciting and unusual matter for the school administration to create this division and sectarianism among the students," Shokry emphasized.

Parents of the Coptic students were surprised when they came home "in a state of panic and crying." The children then told their parents what had happened in school, noting how their "teacher insulted the cross with offensive words in front of everyone."

In line with this, the parents filed a complaint at the Samalout educational administration against the school's director for what happened along with other accusations done towards the students. The children then were interviewed by the educational administration who forwarded the matter to the administration in Minya. However, "no action was taken. No action against them" was done by the Minya administration.

Some parents have also decided to refrain their children from going to school for three days because of the incident since "they had been subjected to intimidation" from the school's administration who "created a state of hatred among the (Muslim) students." The parents stressed that this is "contrary to what the educational system is doing of instilling love, citizenship, and coexistence among students."

Reacting to the incident, CSW Founder President Mervyn Thomas called on the Egyptian government to address the situation brought by the "appalling behavior" of the school's administration.

"CSW welcomes the quick response of the Egyptian authorities on this occasion and we call upon them to hold those responsible for this appalling behaviour accountable. We are particularly concerned by the fact that this conduct was encouraged and joined in by teachers, and call for appropriate measures to be taken against them," Thomas said in a statement.

"Whilst we commend the efforts of the Egyptian government in recent years to improve the situation of Christians, and the personal commitment of President Sisi to reform religious education and combat extremism and hate speech, we continue to call upon the Egyptian authorities to extend these reforms to include unrecognized religious groups," he added.