Students allowed back after expulsion
TWO STUDENTS have been reinstated at Oatlands College in Dublin after being expelled for remarks made about teachers on Facebook.
Separate independent appeal hearings for four students were held in recent weeks before a committee that included a Department of Education inspector.
Four fifth-year students were expelled in May by the board of management at the Stillorgan all-boys’ school after posting abusive remarks about a male and a female teacher on the social networking site.
The two reinstated students had posted comments that are understood to have been less offensive than posts by the two other students, one source said.
Those two other students lost their appeal hearings and as a result will have to find another school. It is understood they had posted the more serious of the sexual allegations about the teachers.
The Department of Education yesterday said it understood “that the appeals process has concluded”.
“The appeals committees that heard the appeals in question are independent of the department and, as such, we are not in a position to comment on the results,” it said in a statement.
School principal Keith Ryan said in a statement it was “the policy of Oatlands College not to comment on any issue in relation to students”.
Earlier this year a teacher at the school alerted Mr Ryan after viewing material on Facebook. The offending matter was taken down within 24 hours.
The comments were posted on a Facebook page created by one 17-year-old student and administered by three others.
In April, more than 40 other students had been given detention on a Saturday morning after “liking” the offending material on the Facebook page.
Fianna Fáil councillor Gerry Horkan, who is chairman of the school board, yesterday said he was not in a position to comment.
Oatlands College is run under the aegis of the Christian Brothers.
In recent years the school has seen a surge in enrolment, which has grown to more than 500 pupils.
Section 29 of the Education Act allows parents to appeal expulsions. The appeal decision is binding.
Last year almost 50 per cent of appeals were successful. In all, 367 appeals were taken, but close to half were withdrawn prior to hearing.
In the remaining 218 cases, rulings in favour of the parents were made in 95 instances.