Education welfare board queries legality of expulsions
PRESSURE IS growing on a Dublin school to reinstate three Leaving Cert pupils who were expelled last week after a series of incidents at a dance music event.
Education sources have questioned the decision of the principal at High School, Rathgar, to expel the three without first suspending them for the mandatory 20 days.
In the past few days, officials from the National Education Welfare Board have been in contact with the school principal. Under board guidelines, a student should only be expelled when this is agreed by the school’s board of management – and after the period of suspension has expired.
At the High School, parents of the three pupils in question were informed by telephone of their sons’ expulsion last week; they have yet to receive written notification of the expulsions.
In recent days, the school authorities have told some parents that these pupils have not actually been expelled. But this has not been formally conveyed to the parents of those involved.
Yesterday, the authorities at the High School did not make themselves available for comment.
The three students were involved in organising a “rave” in the sixth-year common room.
When school staff opened the padlocked doors, there were “exchanges” between the pupils and some senior figures at the school.
In an earlier incident, an item of fruit had been thrown at one teacher and a derogatory remark was also made.
According to the board, schools are required by law to follow fair procedures as well as procedures prescribed under the Education (Welfare) Act 2000, when proposing to expel a student. Broadly, this means allegations about student misbehaviour are first fully investigated before a recommendation is made to the board of management.
The High School also closed down sixth year last week, informing Leaving Cert students they could only return to the school by appointment.
Several parents have expressed their dismay over this move to Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn whose southeast constituency covers the Rathgar area. The Department of Education said last night that the Minister would not be intervening in the dispute – or those at other schools where there were expulsions and suspensions. These are issues best resolved at local level, according to a spokesperson.
Over 100 High School parents held a meeting last weekend to voice their concerns about the cancellation of sixth year as their children prepare for the Leaving Cert exams next month.