Sunday 23 July 2017

Making sense of an Irish Lord of the Flies

The apparent hesitation of a school to report the alleged abuse of a student was almost inevitable in the current climate, writes Donal Lynch

The King’s Hospital School in Dublin Photo: Damien Eagers
The King’s Hospital School in Dublin Photo: Damien Eagers

Donal Lynch

In a way you could understand the apparent hesitancy of authorities at King's Hospital to report the alleged sexual assault of one of its students by a group of others. Any organisation faced with the prospect of having its reputation damaged by a group of young people brandishing smartphones and sports equipment would probably have reacted similarly.

There would be difficulties in establishing exactly what happened - imagine for a moment trying to interrogate a group of teenagers who may be watching each other's backs. There would be understandable jitters about turning over a large number of students (who are, after all, also young people in your care) to An Garda Siochana, particularly perhaps when the victim at the centre of these very grave allegations is apparently already well enough to have returned to class. A school lives and dies by its reputation and King's Hospital's motto - "A school and a way of life" - underlines the fact that it is in the business of doing more than just churning out college applicants. It prides itself on nurturing budding pillars of the community.

But if the hesitancy is understandable, it would not be particularly forgiveable, especially if allegations of sexual assault are proven.

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