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Friday 23 August 2019

'Allegations such as those at King's Hospital should be reported immediately'

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

Sarah MacDonald

The Archbishop of Dublin and Glendalough says all child safety concerns in schools should be reported to the authorities immediately.

He was speaking in the wake of the recent controversy at King's Hospital, the prestigious, co-educational Church of Ireland secondary school where a 13-year-old pupil was allegedly sexually assaulted by eight other students using a hockey stick.

"Rightly, many people have called for a tremendous review of policies and the implementation and consistencies of those," said Archbishop Michael Jackson.

"My thoughts would be with everyone concerned," he said, before adding: "Regulation is essential but regulation of itself will not prevent bad and wrong behaviour."

As to whether he had any concerns around any time lapse between what occurred and what was reported to the authorities, the archbishop, who is a member of the school's board of governors, said: "All I can say is my own instinct in such a situation is to report immediately.

"I would encourage clergy and others in situations where they would bring behaviour, about which they are alarmed, concerned or appalled, to my attention, to report immediately."

An Garda Síochána and Tusla are investigating allegations regarding a group of boys in a King's Hospital dormitory.

When details of the allegations emerged in the media this month, the school issued a statement which said the management and staff had actioned the correct procedures and requirements, including liaising with appropriate agencies.

About 150 schools across Ireland are under the patronage of the Church of Ireland.

Speaking generally, the archbishop said part of education's role is to show people how to take their place and play their part in society.

But Archbishop Jackson went on to warn that "over denominalisation of something which is for the general good of society and for building up people as responsible and contributing citizens is not helpful and can actually be counterproductive".

Irish Independent

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