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School which expelled pupils over abusive Facebook posts won't comment

The school is reported to have suspended four pupils earlier this week. Separately, the Education Minister has opened an anti-bullying forum in Dublin today.

Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive/Press Association Images

THE DUBLIN SCHOOL which is reported to have expelled four pupils after they posted abusive comments about teachers on Facebook has declined to comment on the issue.

The Irish Times’ Seán Flynn reports this morning that Oatlands College in Stillorgan moved to expel the four fifth year students after they posted comments about teachers on a Facebook page at a meeting earlier this week with the four having already served 20-day suspensions.

An appeal is expected to be made by the parents of the pupils. Separately 40 other students were given detention after ‘Liking’ the material on the Facebook page, the paper reports.

Contacted by this morning, the school’s deputy principal said it would not be commenting on the story in line with school policy.

Education Minister Ruairí Quinn was asked about the story as he separately launched an Anti-Bullying Forum at the Department of Education and Skills in Dublin today.

Speaking to the media, Quinn said he would not comment on the specific case but did say that existing guidelines on bullying needed to be updated to include cyber bullying, noting that bullying “can occur 24/7″ outside of the classroom on social networks.

Ruairí Quinn with junior minister for children Frances Fitzgerald at the Department of Education in Dublin today. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

More than 100 people representing students, parents, school management groups, teachers and support groups for victims of bullying are taking part in the forum today.

Launching the forum this morning, Quinn said: “Bullying is a problem which I take very seriously.  Bullying in school can ruin a young person’s enjoyment of some of the most important years of their life. In extreme situations it can also, tragically, lead to a young person taking their own life.”

“It is therefore my fervent hope that today’s Forum will provide us with the basis on which to develop a roadmap on how best to tackle all forms of bullying in our schools.

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“I am very anxious that the Forum focuses on identifying the practical steps and recommendations that could be taken in the short term to improve how schools approach and tackle bullying.”

The Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) said it would not comment on the specific story. But a spokesperson told “Schools should have and are required to have under legislation a process to deal with bullying in their school behaviour code or code of conduct.

“We believe that any code or policy in relation to bullying must include cyber bullying and other forms of bullying, for example by text or the internet.”

Poll: Should students be expelled for posting abuse on social networking sites?

Australia: School warns students: Quit Facebook or be expelled

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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