independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Pupils beaten and handcuffed on school trip, claim parents

Tomas O Dulaing

A COMPLAINT has been made to gardai after children were allegedly handcuffed and beaten by fellow pupils on a school trip.

Parents have complained that children from Griffeen Valley Educate Together School in Dublin were seriously bullied by classmates on a trip to a Gaelteacht in Co Donegal.

They have claimed that their children were handcuffed before being punched and kicked by other pupils during a visit to the Annagary Irish-speaking area.

According to one parent, the teachers slept in one house during the five-night trip in May, while the children were housed in a nearby property.

Several parents staged a sit-in at the school in Lucan after the trip to force the board of management to hold an emergency meeting on the matter.

It is understood that the school's anti-bullying procedures have been implemented, including suspensions and mediation and counselling for pupils.

Principal Tomas O Dulaing did not respond to Irish Independent attempts to contact him last night.

He is a member of the United Left Alliance and is vocal on issues relating to cuts in funding for education, was involved in a very public row with local FG TD Derek Keating last month.

CYNICAL

He accused the TD of "gross cynical opportunism" for sending a leaflet to constituents highlighting his involvement in securing a school extension for Griffeen Educate Together.

The controversy deepened after Mr Keating's aide, Tommy Morris, was caught on CCTV removing copies of a local newspaper which was reporting on the row.

Gardai are investigating the disappearance of hundreds of copies of the 'Lucan Gazette' bearing the headline, 'Principal Blasts Keating's Leaflet'.

Complaints about the alleged bullying on the school trip are understood to have been made to gardai. Mr Keating has called for an independent investigation into what he called "a very serious issue and not a school yard bullying incident", saying he was raising the issue because some of the parents had approached him for help.

He said he has "never had to support parents who are so distressed" in his 14 years as a public representative.

He said he intended to raise the incident by special notice in the Dail this week and would ask why parents allegedly had to hold a sit in protest in the school staff room to ensure the board of management discussed the bullying claims.

Irish Independent

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