Student recounts how she had to take Leaving Cert exam day after her mother died

Student recounts how she had to take Leaving Cert exam day after her mother died
File photo.

A former school student has told how she had to sit her Leaving Cert business exam the day after her mother died of cancer.

Rhona Butler spoke to Ryan Tubridy this morning about studying for the Leaving Cert while her mum was sick.

Rhona's Leaving Cert started on June 6, but her mother died on June 13.

She told Ryan that she had to go into school the very next day to do her business exam saying: "My school couldn't have done anything for me, they would have if they could have... I didn't want to make it any more abnormal than it was'".

After her mother was buried on Saturday, Rhona was back on Monday to complete her accounting exam.

She made a plea for there to be an option for those dealing with bereavement to take their exams a few weeks later, rather than waiting a whole year more.

She said: "If I didn't show up on the day, that was my problem. It wasn't the department's, they didn't care.

"They see us as exam numbers, we're much more than that."

She told Ryan that she thinks there needs to be a bereavement process in place. She explained how there are two sets of papers that they chose from so she reasoned that students in the middle of bereavement could take those exams two weeks later rather than at the time of their beloved's death.

She has sent an email to the Department of Education but has only received an automated response, which she criticised saying: "by the time he reads that I could be 40".

She said: "It's not fair on the student, it's not fair on the family and it's not fair on the school either."

You can listen to her full interview below.

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