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The son of an Irish parliamentarian is one of four students who were expelled from a Dublin school for posting ‘inappropriate’ remarks about two teachers on Facebook.
A son of Independent Wexford deputy Mick Wallace is one of the fifth year students kicked out of Oatlands College.
The four were initially suspended for 20 days for posting abusive sexual allegations about their teachers on Facebook.
Now the Irish Independent reports that they have been expelled from the Christian Brothers run non-fee paying school with another 40 students facing detention for ‘liking’ the comments on Facebook.
The paper reports that parents are expected to appeal the expulsions under section 29 of the Education Act.
The allegations posted referred to both a male and a female teacher, while disparaging remarks were also made about another female teacher.
One source told the media, “The offending page was highly inappropriate, offensive and damaging. It was very much back of the toilet door stuff.
“Obviously, the page and the comments being made on it went through the student body like wildfire.
“This kind of thing is bad enough when students mutter amongst themselves in the school corridor. It’s a very different and potentially far more serious matter when it’s posted on the internet.
Whatever about the immediate hurt it causes for the victim, it can have serious consequences personally and professionally if it’s allowed to go unchecked.”
Oatlands College is one of Dublin’s best known schools, with over 500 pupils and a strong academic and sporting pedigree.
Teachers’ Union ASTI said in a statement: “Any type of bullying cannot be tolerated. Cyber bullying is just a modern day form of bullying. Whether it’s student against student, or student against teacher, it’s very serious.
“There needs to be a whole look at electronic media and how quickly things go viral, and very often, badly wrong. Facebook pages can be removed, but in a lot of cases, the material stays on the web permanently.
“There have been some terrible cases of online abuse. One only has to think of the case of Phoebe Prince in America. Online abuse played a part in that.
“As this becomes more commonplace, it will become more of an issue. People are entitled to freedom of expression, but there is a responsibility that comes with that.
“Across the board, there needs to be an examination of the use of online media.”