School suspends 50 Leaving students after prank
AROUND 50 Leaving Cert students at one of the country's most prestigious schools were suspended after an end-of-term prank just three weeks before the June exams.
The students "dressed up" and caused disruption during weekly assembly at Kilkenny College but school authorities were not amused.
"There was an incidence of disobedience that we had to deal with," school principal Ian Coombes told the Irish Independent.
About one-third of the school's 140 Leaving Cert candidates who were involved in the incident were suspended for three days. Both male and female students were involved.
Immediately after the incident, which happened earlier this month, the students involved were out of class for about 90 minutes while the incident was investigated.
Those acknowledged as participating in the disruption were suspended from Monday to Wednesday of last week, in line with the school's code of conduct.
"Kilkenny College takes seriously its duty of care for the right of pupils to uninterrupted teaching and learning in a safe environment without disruption," the school said in a statement.
Mr Coombes said that the students involved accepted their sanction and were now "all behaving very well".
He said they were looking forward to their graduation event tomorrow.
The incident comes after Leaving Cert students at Skerries Community College, north Co Dublin, decided to put their school up for sale last week. That incident was treated as a harmless prank.
The school appeared on the online trading forum DoneDeal, with a price tag of €2.5m.
School principal Kevin O'Riordan received a "number of offers" to buy the school, before the ad was taken down from the website.
Kilkenny College was among an elite group of about 50 fee-paying schools until it entered the free education system last September.
The move to the free education system has seen the school's popularity grow, from 762 pupils in 2012/13 – down by 50 from 2008 – enrolments will rise to 810 next September.
The decision by Kilkenny College was put down to falling family incomes and cuts in state support for the fee-paying sector, arising from the economic crash.
Meanwhile, Mr Coombes has announced that he is leaving Kilkenny College to return to Bandon Grammar School west Cork, where he was principal before leaving in 2010.
A statement form the Kilkenny College board of governors and board of management praised him for his "exceptional contribution by way of strategic leadership.
"The successful return of the college to the 'free' scheme and its confident plans for growth and development testify to his achievement," they said.