A Co. Limerick high school has suspended 28 pupils over Facebook cyber bullying.
Students at Coláiste Chíaráin in Croom who admitted to ‘Liking’ a Facebook post that referred to a number of people in the school community were reprimanded.
The post, since removed, contained an image and text relating to the personal life of one of the teachers.
School principal Noel Malone told the Irish Examiner: “There were a number of victims, and one very particular case of cyberbullying, in my view.”
“It was a very unpleasant and difficult situation for the school to find itself in. This was gross invasion of the personal lives of members of our school community.”
Malone criticized the attitude of Facebook, who refused the school’s written request to remove the post.
“The site was a violation of the privacy of members of the school community, and when it was brought to our attention we investigated and found it breached our acceptable usage policy and anti-bullying policy,” said Malone.
“We were able to identify students in the school who supported it by stating they liked what was on it. It showed images of the school and there was definitely an issue of privacy and cyberbullying. I was very shocked.”
The school management talked to the students involved and tried to highlight the hurtful nature of their actions.
“We pointed out the great dangers. I have no doubt there was no malice on behalf of the students.
“We have a very strong policy in this area. It is to the credit of the students that they wrote on the website they wanted it taken down.
“Unfortunately, these 28 made a wrong decision. We wrote to all the parents, and the vast majority of them have supported our action.
“The student council in the school has also backed the decision and said we were sending out the right message. We don’t allow Facebook or social media into the school. They are not accessible in the school and we don’t know who put up this site.”