PARENTS who have kept their children out of a midlands national school since January 20 staged a protest last week.
The protesting parent of one of the school's pupils claimed a substitute teacher has a meter stick that she refers to as "the beating stick" in class.
Nine students from the teacher's class have been kept at home for more than two weeks as they are too terrified to go back, according to parents involved in the protest.
Parent protests have been taking place outside the school at both the beginning and end of each school day for the latter half of last week.
One parent said the protests are to give a voice to their children, who he claims have been subjected to a "culture of fear" in the teacher's classroom.
"We have children wetting themselves and begging their parents not to bring them into school," he said.
"They are too scared to go back until the teacher is removed from the school. The school has had nearly two weeks already to act on this.
"We need our children to be heard. We as parents have the right for something to be done."
He said efforts have been made by some parents to enroll children in two other local schools, but after initially looking like possible options these efforts have been unsuccessful.
Since taking his child out of school on January 20 he said parents of the absent children have also sent a formal statement to the school's Board of Management.
However, he said he and fellow parents are not prepared for their children to go back to school while the situation is being investigated.
"As parents we're not going to subject our children to that," he said.
"So many children have been so happy up until this point coming to this school," he added.
“But now something has to be done. We're not going to force the children into an environment that they're completely terrified to go into."
The school's principal said the Board of Management is dealing with the situation as per procedures and the principal had no other comment to make.
Addiction Is Cheap
ALCOHOL is too cheap, and it is getting harder for people who are struggling with addiction problems to say no to 24 cans of beer for €24.
This is according to a Waterford City addiction counselor, Barry Grant, who said that for his clients who may be on the dole or unemployed, they can get two days drinking for just over €20.
“When they can get that much alcohol for so little, the slab of cans is probably cheaper than the bottles of fizzy water beside it, so unfortunately people tend to go for the alcohol,” Grant said.
Speaking about the new regulations that the government is considering, Grant said that the measures may help to reduce alcoholism, but it will take a lot more than cutting the number of adverts and selling it in a different place to combat the alcohol culture in Ireland.
In relation to advertising, he said that alcohol brands sponsoring big sporting events is a huge problem here.
“With things like the Heineken Cup, you have small children associating alcohol with positive healthy images of sports people achieving goals,” he said.
“Even the drink aware ads tell you to ‘enjoy’ alcohol responsibly, but if there were ads telling you to enjoy heroin responsibly, there would be uproar. The word enjoy shouldn’t be used. Why not say ‘use’ or ‘consume’ -- even in the health warning, there is a bit of a sales pitch.”
Grant said that people see the cheaply priced drink and they don’t see the full effects of what it could do to them.
He said, “I would deal with a lot of family members of alcoholics and their lives have been turned upside down.”
Grant said that the government could be trying to move towards the Swedish model of selling alcohol in one place only, but that doesn’t eradicate the alcohol problem.
He said that in Sweden the sale of alcohol is heavily restricted, but they still have a huge societal problem with alcohol addiction.
Grant said that as a country, Ireland has moved away from the culture of drinking in the pub to drinking wine at home in the evenings, and that people have become much more casual about their drinking.
He said, “People don’t take the unit limit seriously and they could be drinking two or three times the limit, without thinking that anything is wrong.”
Waterford News &Star
Hospital Smoke Out
THE sight of men and women in their pajamas smoking at the front of Our Lady of Lourdes hospital may well be a thing of the past if a new policy within the Louth Meath Hospital Group is adhered to.
From February 22, which also happens to be Ash Wednesday and National No Smoking Day, hospitals within the group will become tobacco free campuses. This means smoking will not be permitted anywhere on the hospital grounds or campus.