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Gardai probe claims pupils were beaten on school trip

Gardai have been called in after a group of Dublin schoolchildren were allegedly beaten and handcuffed on a Gaeltacht trip last month.

Thirty-nine pupils at Griffeen Valley Educate Together School in Lucan went on the organised, five-day trip to Annagry, Co Donegal, on May 20.

But parents have claimed a number of them were subjected to multiple episodes of physical assaults and verbal abuse from other students.

"Over four days and four nights, my son was subjected to assaults and abuse. He was dragged from his room, handcuffed, beaten, punched and kicked, had obscene things written on his arm, and this happened many times throughout the day," claimed one concerned mother.

She said that on the trip the children slept in one house while three accompanying teachers were in an adjoining property.

When the children returned, she and around six other sets of parents sat in the school staff room to force an emergency meeting of the school's board of management.

It is understood the school principal, Tomas O Dulaing, and his board of management immediately set about implementing the anti-bullying policy, involving suspensions, professional mediation and support for pupils.

CRIMINAL

But some parents were unhappy with the school's response and felt the gardai should be involved to investigate the matter on a criminal basis.

"What happened to my son is a serious criminal assault," said the parent.

She and other parents reported the matter to Lucan Garda Station, but are waiting for a specialist liaison officer to be assigned before statements can be taken from their children.

The school's board of management declined to comment in detail on the allegations, saying it was "continuing its investigative process with the colaiste in the Gaeltacht, which will be completed in due course".

Parents also complained to local Fine Gael TD Derek Keating. He has written to Education Minister Ruairi Quinn and Justice Minister Alan Shatter on their behalf , and plans to raise questions in the Dail this week.

cfeehan@herald.ie


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