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Wednesday 19 June 2019

Investigation into two more 'rape lists' featuring names of girls at secondary school

'The reason I saw the list is because it was shared on Snapchat...' - one girl at school

Davis College. Pic: Google Maps
Davis College. Pic: Google Maps

THE school at the centre of a 'rape list' controversy has confirmed that two previous lists had apparently been in circulation.

Davis College in Mallow, Co Cork, is investigating who was behind the lists, which featured the names of schoolgirls.

Education Minister Richard Bruton confirmed he ordered special supports to Davis College, as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar admitted the incident was "very worrying".

The school said on Thursday it was aware of only one list - the so-called 'rape list' found in the boys' toilets.

However, following inquiries it has emerged two other objectionable lists were in circulation.

"School management has now been made aware that there were two other lists and a thorough investigation is under way to investigate who may have been the author(s) of the lists," a spokesperson said.

Principal Stephen Gilbert said student safety was the school’s top priority
Principal Stephen Gilbert said student safety was the school’s top priority

It is understood that social media searches will be crucial to the inquiry into who was responsible for the lists.

Meanwhile, Mr Varadkar said the alarming incident underlined the need for an overhaul of the sex education regime.

"I have absolutely no doubt that the school's authorities will take it in hand, and take whatever appropriate action is necessary," he said.

"But, it does further emphasise the need to modernise and improve relationships and sexual education in our schools.

"Minister Burton announced we were going to do this anyway, but I think this really does emphasise that even more so in the age of social media and in the age of prevalent pornography.

"We've an obligation, I think, both as parents, and as educators, to really educate our kids more about appropriate behaviour," Mr Varadkar said.

Mr Bruton confirmed he had ordered special resources to Mallow.

"In relation to the Davis College issue, I have asked NEPS, the National Educational Psychology Service, to visit the school and to support the school in what it is doing," Mr Bruton said.

"This is obviously a serious incident. The school has taken it very seriously and acted upon it and we will ensure they get the supports to ensure appropriate action is taken," he vowed.

The names of some female Davis College students - all minors - were found on a list in a cubicle in the boys' toilets.

The list asked others to place a 'tick' beside a chosen name.

A note on the list then advised that: "The ones with the most ticks is going to get raped."

One female student at the school, whose name was not included, confirmed she had seen the list shared on social media.

"It is quite public. If I was on the list I probably wouldn't want people seeing the list. Some of the girls may be afraid that it might get out. I don't mean by the media but on social media," she said.

"The reason I saw the list is because it was shared on Snapchat... a boy sent it to a girl to show her what was going on."

The girl stressed that urgent lessons needed to be learned from the incident - and that boys needed to understand the seriousness of what was involved.

"They cannot get away with saying this sort of stuff - threatening rape is just so serious. Boys need to learn that they can't talk about girls like that."

A statement was issued via Davis College on behalf of the girls named on the list, saying they were appalled by the publicity and the fact people with no connection to the incident had spoken out about it.

Davis College confirmed the incident had been referred to gardaí. Mallow and Fermoy gardaí are aware of the matter and are liaising with the school probe, but a full criminal investigation will only be launched now if a formal complaint is received from one of the girls or families directly involved.

The female students involved said they were left feeling "devastated and vulnerable".

"We greatly appreciate all the work and the support the school has given us," they said.

"We are devastated that incorrect information has been given to the media. We are angered that people with no connection to the incident took it upon themselves to contact the media and speak about our situation."

Davis College stressed that it had taken the matter very seriously. "The safety and well-being of all of our students is our top priority," principal Stephen Gilbert said.

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