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€750 awarded to school boy over religious bias

Posted by SchoolDays Newshound on 18/02/2014. €750 awarded to school boy over religious biasTags: Parenting

According to the Independent today, the board of a Gaelscoil has been ordered to pay a protestant schoolboy an award of €750 after his Principal referred to the boy’s parents as part of the “rebel crowd”.

The Principal also punished the boy for not participating in First Communion and Confirmation ceremonies. He allegedly instructed the boy to stand against a classroom wall as punishment for not attending a First Communion ceremony with his schoolmates at a local Roman Catholic church, despite being a member of the Church of Ireland. He was also excluded from a "homework holiday" in which the other children who had made their First Communion at the church were rewarded.

The Equality Tribunal found the Principal guilty of religious discrimination following a complaint lodged by the parents. The parents, said the principal had told them the school was "interdenominational" when they initially enrolled their son in school. However, only Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland faiths would be taught in class.

The parents raised the issue with the principal about the "significant" amount of school time being spent on preparing Catholic children for their First Communion and Confirmation. It is reported that the principal told the boy's mother that she "obviously had a problem with religion" and made derogatory remarks about her faith, including references to her Protestant religion as being part of "the rebel crowd,"

The Principal of the school is currently on administrative leave. The tribunal wrote that “the chair of the school’s board of management and the school’s current principal made an unreserved apology to the complainant’s parents in relation to the alleged treatment by the principal regarding the treatment of their son”. "The chairperson stated that she was not in a position to dispute the facts, and takes on board the issues as outlined by the complainant's parents."

The board of management of the unnamed national school was also ordered by the tribunal to review its policies to ensure it complies with the Equal Status Act.



(08-03-2014 22:16)

These type of attitudes are sadly still a lot more common than one would think. Most school principals are cute enough not to get caught expressing them in such explicit ways but if the former president Mary McAleese let it slip them I suppose the principal is not the first nor will he be the last. Thankfully things are improving gradually.

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