‘Code of discipline can’t be changed for exam students’

School discipline rules should not be changed for sixth-year students involved in serious misbehaviour or whose pranks get out of hand, a principals’ leader has claimed.

A number of schools are reported to have expelled or suspended Leaving Certificate students in recent weeks after a range of incidents as they finish up classes before next month’s exams.

In two cases, both involving students of fee-paying schools in Dublin, a student was reported to have been tied up and left abandoned in the grounds of a nearby school. The sanctions ranged from exclusion from school graduations to suspensions; and three students at another Dublin school were reportedly expelled this month after a rave party was held in the student common room.

National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) president Dónal Ó Buachalla said he was not sure that end-of-year incidents were getting more serious and feels it is more likely they have just been getting more publicity.

But he said school boards have to apply the rules to misbehaving students equally and fairly, no matter what the time of year or the status of those being disciplined.

There have been concerns about the impact of sanctions on students in the weeks before exams. But Mr Ó Buachalla said principals cannot ignore an indiscipline because it happens near the end of school year.

The recent reports of end-of-year incidents follow the expulsion earlier this month of four fifth-year students by Oatlands College in Dublin for their role in a Facebook page, where insulting and abusive remarks about teachers were put up in March. Those sanctions are set to be the subject of appeals to be heard by a committee appointed by the Department of Education, under procedures set out in the 1998 Education Act.


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