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Dublin: 3 °C Tuesday 18 February, 2020

Coláiste Eoin didn't specify that ShoutOut workshop was about bullying

The Principal of the school acknowledged that was probably where “misinformation” came from.

THE PRINCIPAL OF Coláiste Eoin, which was criticised after it cancelled an anti-homophobic bullying workshop, has acknowledged that he didn’t specify to parents exactly what type of workshop it was going to be.

Finín Máirtín was talking to Cormac Ó hEadhra this evening on Cormac ag a Cúig RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta when he explained more about the controversy.

Of the communication to parents about the workshop, he said: “I didn’t give the exact subject-matter of the workshop as ‘bullying’ and I think a lot of misinformation came out of that.”

Máirtín also told the station that the school sent out notice of the workshop too late. But in addition, he said the controversy came from ShoutOut saying the workshop was cancelled, rather than postponed.

The mistake we made was to send out the notice so late. The problem here is that, when we informed ShoutOut that it was postponed, ShoutOut posted to their website around lunchtime that it had been cancelled. That is where this controversy has sprung from, and we are very upset about it.

He said of the reasons behind the decision:

“Some parents were worried that if their sons weren’t attending the workshops, that they would be singled out by other pupils and that that would upset them. On that basis, we decided to postpone the workshop… there were probably six or seven parents involved. Only two thirds of the year had received notice of the workshop as well, that was as a result of a mistake on our part.”

Both sides of the story

After the story broke, Declan Meehan of ShoutOut told that they were initially not given an explanation but were later told that the school’s board of management had decided that “both sides of the argument should be represented”.

When asked about this today, the Principal clarified:

If you are talking about an anti-homophobic bullying workshop, there are no two sides, but if you are talking about a group coming in to talk about LGBT matters, and this is where the difficulty arises, there are different opinions on that, and that is what came into play here. There are no two perspectives on homophobic bullying.

Speaking of the school’s Catholic ethos, he agreed that may have been a factor, and said that it had been mentioned to him specifically by parents.

The decision to postpone the workshop was made in collaboration with the board of Management, “to be sure that no student felt they were being singled out because they weren’t attending the workshop”.

Read: School that cancelled homophobic bullying workshop say it will go ahead ‘at a future date’>

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