A case in which a 14-year-old girl was filmed in a state of undress and the clip disseminated on social media has been referred to gardaí despite alleged attempts by her school to ignore the incident.
The case involves a girl inadvertently caught on a video made by a classmate in a female changing area in the mixed-gender school. The girl was not wearing anything below her waist and the clip was uploaded on Snapchat.
Once the dissemination of the video was discovered by the girl’s parents, they contacted the school. They were assured that it was a very serious issue and that the clip had been located, would be destroyed, and best practice in child protection would be followed.
The girls who made the video were suspended for a day for breaking the rules on filming in a changing area.
More than two years later, the clip was circulated again and had a major impact on the student.
“She started suffering panic attacks,” the girl’s mother told the Irish Examiner. “She had come across it again. I thought it was unlikely that it could have resurfaced.
“When I had been told that everything would be done to get rid of it, I believed them.”
The parents attempted to establish why it could still be in circulation and what had been done to destroy it.
After repeated attempts to get this information from school authorities, the parents were assured “records” showed proper procedure had been followed. They were assured by the board of management that a review had shown “the incident was dealt with according to the code of conduct”.
Yet when the family accessed the data on the incident, they found the case had not been raised at school board level in the months after it occurred and the person designated to manage child protection issues had no record of it.
It was referred to Tusla but when the parents liaised with the child protection agency they discovered the information conveyed from the school referenced a false, relatively innocuous incident. Tusla then determined it be referred to gardaí.
The principal of the school said it was policy not to comment on any issue involving individual students.