independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Schoolboy fight clubs 'copying' Fair City story line

'CARRIGSTOWN' student Mark is in trouble again - this time with school managers.

They fear that students are following his 'Fair City' example and starting their own 'copycat' fight clubs in post primary schools around the country.

Already a small number of principals have reported that fights are being deliberately set up, according to Michael Moriarty, general secretary of the Irish Vocational Education Association.

"I've been told of fights being staged where the students are aping what happened on 'Fair City,'" he said.

"RTE has a responsibility in this matter and has to be aware of the consequences of such incidents portrayed in schools on television," said Mr Moriarty.

The Irish Independent has been told of one North Dublin school where students deliberately organised a fight in front of an audience of their peers recently.

The television story line showed how Mark, who had been bullied, 'progressed' from getting boxing lessons - in order to build up his confidence - to starting to organise fights.

He got into trouble in school for an attack on Tommy, another character in the popular soap.

But matters came to a head when he was suspended from school for a month in February for assaulting Sean.

An RTE spokesperson said the programme did not condone such violence and indeed showed the effect of it in the assault on Sean.

The story line has been played down since but could surface again.

Tommy Walshe, PRO for the National Parents Council (post primary) said boys saw it as reality television.

Outside of Dublin students felt that to keep up with their peers in 'Fair City' they had to engage in the same type of activity.

He said that the programme was very popular with students as it was on so early in the evening. He felt it should be shown later if it contained this type of a story.

Trouble

Ferdia Kelly, who represents managers of Catholic Secondary Schools, noted that the students in the series were portrayed as just 'ordinary kids' who did not get into trouble but who suddenly started getting into fights.

Mr Kelly said that parents had a responsibility and schools should use the Social Personal and Health Education programmes to advise students that this type of action was not suitable.

John Walshe




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