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Thursday 22 February 2018

Garda helicopter scrambled for school prank that went too far

NiIAMH HORAN

THE garda helicopter was 'scrambled' after an end-of-year 'prank' involving one of Dublin's top rugby schools got completely out of control.

School pupils at St Mary's College in Rathmines stripped a fellow pupil to his underpants and covered him in shaving foam before driving him to nearby Donnybrook, where they tied him to a pole in the grounds of the all-girls Muckross Park School.

A woman returning from a funeral witnessed the boy being bundled into the car in Rathmines and, believing it was a kidnapping, alerted gardai.

The garda helicopter and squad cars -- one of which crashed -- followed in pursuit but the boy was found tied with duct-tape and semi-naked in the grounds of the girls' school.

Teachers released him and brought him into the school and got him clothes after his ordeal.

The perpetrators were arrested in a follow-up search. It is not known if the garda authorities are planning further action.

St Mary's College in Rathmines is one of Dublin's best- known rugby schools and has a long list of distinguished past pupils.

The school authorities were said to be horrified at the pre-Leaving Cert incident last Wednesday -- just one of a number of pranks in recent days. The school principal declined to comment when contacted by the Sunday Independent.

A number of other incidents have taken place at schools in recent days. However, none of them were of such a serious nature, or involved the gardai.

At High School in Rathgar, three pupils were expelled last week and the school's graduation cancelled after a unofficial dance music event in the school led to what were described as "exchanges" between students and staff.

The school has instructed all sixth-year pupils that their school year has ended and they can only return to the school by appointment.

The incidents come after four fifth-year pupils at Oatlands College in Stillorgan, Co Dublin, were finally expelled for what were described as "vile sexual allegations" about both male and female teachers at the school, which were posted on Facebook and surfaced in the first week in April.

The four boys -- including the son of a serving TD -- were suspended pending an appeals process. However, their expulsion was confirmed last week.

The parents of some of the expelled boys are expected to appeal to the Department of Education, which will now convene a 'Section 29' committee consisting of a department inspector and two experts to review the case.

If the students fail in this process, they will be obliged to find another school to take them in for their Leaving Certificate year.

Sunday Independent

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