Sunday 23 October 2016

Almost 80 pupils suspended from prestigious Dublin school in 12 months

Robin Schiller

Published 20/05/2016 | 07:01

(Stock Image)
(Stock Image)

ALMOST 80 students have been suspended from one of Dublin’s most prestigious schools in the last year due to their behaviour on class outings.

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The students, from separate classes, were suspended and banned from future trips by Belvedere College.

In one outing on the Camino in France, a number of students were punished for consuming alcohol while on the tour. These students were subsequently suspended from the school for a small period on their return.

During a separate trip, a group of second-year pupils were caught vaping (using vaporisers which are intended for smokers attempting to quit) while on a trip to an adventure centre. Those caught were also suspended.

Meanwhile last year, students were suspended after being caught drinking on a fourth- year outing to France.

In total, 79 teenagers have been suspended from the school for a period over their behaviour on trips in the last 12 months.

In a statement, Belvedere College said that it has a “zero tolerance policy to alcohol consumption” and deemed the sanctions appropriate.

“The college has a strict code of disciplinary conduct agreed with pupils and parents, and applied with consistency. The code is board policy drafted in consultation with sub-committees of the Board of Management representing both parents and teachers and the school council,” the statement said.

“In particular, we are very concerned about the culture of underage drinking in our society. The college has a zero tolerance policy in place regarding the consumption of alcohol by underage students. Every year almost all the students in the school – 1,000 – avail of the opportunity to go on one or more residential trips at home or abroad or on exchange trips.

“In this overall context only a small minority infringe the rules. A student who does so is given a sanction, typically a one, two or three-day suspension, which we deem appropriate, all factors considered,” Belvedere College said.

“Any parent or pupil is entitled to appeal but to date the policy has received the overwhelming support of parents and teachers.

“They understand that it would be unfair to allow the behaviour of a small minority to jeopardise the viability of these educational trips, which are greatly enjoyed by the majority of students who are well-behaved and benefit considerably from them.

“Understandably any comment about individual disciplinary cases would be a breach of privacy,” the school’s statement added.

Belvedere College is one of the capital’s most recognised free-paying secondary institutes, boasting a wide range of achievements from educational to sporting.

Fees for the Great Denmark Street school were previously in the region of €5,000, and it has several well-known past pupils including Irish rugby international rugby Cian Healy, former UFC fighter Cathal Pendred and late Finance Minister Brian Lenihan.

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