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Fourth class

Parent 'shocked' by child's poor maths grade loses racial discrimination case

The woman claimed that the child’s teacher suggested she was given a bad mark because she was not Irish.

A MOTHER WHO was “shocked” at her daughter’s end-of-year school grades has lost a case for racial discrimination at the Workplace Relations Commission.

The case arose after the woman received her daughter’s final results for the 2016/17 academic year, and subsequently made a complaint under the Equal Status Act.

After receiving the results, the woman said she was “shocked and blown away” by them, particularly her daughter’s maths grade.

Although she accepted that her daughter had received a good mark, the woman believed it was unjustifiably lower than the one her daughter had received the previous year.

She believed that her daughter had performed better that year when compared to the previous year, despite receiving a lower grade.


The woman then contacted her daughter’s teacher to ask for an explanation, and asked why her daughter had received 3’s in maths when she had received 4’s the previous year.

The teacher replied that she had no problem with the woman’s daughter, before allegedly telling the woman that the only problem was that her daughter was not Irish.

The woman claims that she told the teacher that her daughter’s step-father was Irish, before alleging that the teacher said the woman’s own surname was not Irish and that she could not talk about being Irish because she was not Irish herself.

When the woman met with the school principal later, she revealed that she looked through her daughter’s results for the whole year and believed she had performed well.

However, she felt her daughter was treated differently to Irish students, and that this was the first year in school where she had scored poorly.

The woman told the principal that the teacher made three references about nationality: her daughter not being Irish; her daughter’s surname; and the complainant not being Irish.

The woman also suggested to the principal that her daughter’s marks in Irish were low because she was not Irish, but the principal denied this.

The woman said her daughter’s Irish should not be affected because of her nationality, and asked how a teacher could scream at her and refer to her not being Irish.

‘Capable and confident’

In response, the school said that end-of-year reports are each teacher’s professional view of their pupils.

The teacher said she felt that the woman’s daughter was “capable and confident”, but was not yet at the level of a ‘5’ – the highest grade.

The school also refuted the claim that the teacher said the child’s mark in Irish was down to her nationality.

After the woman asked the teacher where she trained and whether she had children, the teacher became upset and referred the matter to the principal.

The principal said that when she met the woman, she did not say anything about the teacher commenting on her daughter not being Irish.

She said that the complaint about racial discrimination was first raised in a submission to the WRC.

The principal also said she had no recollection of the woman informing her that the teacher had said the child’s poor Irish mark was because of her nationality.

She said the woman was more concerned about the marks awarded in maths, and when the woman asked whether that was because her daughter was not Irish, the principal denied this.

In its decision, the commission ruled that the woman failed to establish discrimination on the grounds of race or victimisation under the Equal Status Act, and no award was made.

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