Jewish school on alert in wake of French massacre

David Raleigh

A TEACHER at a Jewish school in Dublin has said her school and her community are taking security measures to protect themselves after the recent massacre in Toulouse, France.

Judith Charry, a teacher at Stratford College in Rathgar -- a multi-denominational school run by the Dublin Talmud Torah Jewish community -- said the school has always taken precautions to protect its staff, students and parents.

"Obviously, we were all very upset by the news and hearing things as they developed (in France)," said Ms Charry.

"In terms of the school itself, we're always aware of things that are going on, and the safety of the students is paramount so we do make sure that our premises are secure."

Asked if she was fearful that something similar to what happened in Toulouse could happen in Ireland, she replied: "Unfortunately, reality can happen here too. It's something the (Jewish) community here is aware of.

"We take steps to try to protect ourselves as well as we can -- without going overboard.

" But we certainly are aware of what's going on and we secure all of our premises -- security cameras, surveillance, things like that."

Ms Charry was speaking at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick yesterday at a conference discussing religious pluralism in Irish schools.

The event explored how Ireland accommodates diversity among religious and secular groups through education.

Teachers and students from Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and multi-denominational schools also attended.

Stratford College was set up in the 1950s but out of its 105 pupils, only 13 are now Jewish.

"I think it's a combination of some people liking the ethos of the school and the fact that it is also a small school, so it's friendly and welcoming," Ms Charry explained.

The school, which teaches Hebrew, is in the process of implementing the new Junior Certificate Jewish studies syllabus, which will be introduced for the first time in June 2013.

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