Posted by SchoolDays Newshound, on 28/10/2015. Tags: Education And Politics Parenting Teachers
The Equality Tribunal has ruled in favour
of a separated father's case against his daughter's school. The court heard how the school caused him "anxiety and distress" by treating him differently to other parents.
The father claims that the school requested proof of his custody rights and, on numerous occasions, purposefully neglected to inform him of school events involving his child in adequate time.
The father reported a particular incident involving the school's sports day:
"On the 24th of May, he said that he was travelling from Dublin to the Midlands to attend the sports day and he telephoned the school Principal to confirm the details of the time and location of the event. The Principal returned his call and informed him that she had received a telephone call from his estranged wife (Ms A) to say that his daughter would not be attending the sports day because he was planning to attend. The complainant said that the Principal was very rude to him and told him that she could not have him engaging in disruptive behavior in front of other parents. She then requested that he produce Court documents on his access and custody arrangements for his daughter and she threatened that she would call the Gardaí in relation to the matter. He said that it was impossible to reason with the Principal and he terminated the conversation."
According to the court report, the complainant also alleged that he was victimised for initiating a complaint to the Equality Tribunal after his estranged wife had enrolled their daughter in the school without his knowledge or consent. However this matter was resolved at mediation and the case was withdrawn from the Tribunal. He said that he withdrew the case because he wanted to improve the relationship with the school."
The Court was told that Mrs A had frequently removed her daughter from the school when she was made aware that the child's father would be attending. In response to the complaints made against the school, the Principal argued "the reason she asked for the Court Order in relation to access arrangements is that she given conflicting information she was operating with her hands behind her back."
The Tribunal ordered the school to pay €4,000 in compensation to the father for the discriminatory treatment he received in relation to "gender, civil status and victimisation grounds." Equality Officer Marian Duffy said she was satisfied that the complainant was ”treated differently than other parents in the circumstance”, noting also that he had been notified of the event (sports day)a day later than other parents. However, the court ruled that there was"no discrimination on the family status ground."See here for a full report.