Athlone schools apologise after student racist videos emerge

Management at two schools in Athlone have issued apologies after online footage emerged featuring racist language by its students.

The boards of management at Athlone Community College and Our Lady’s Bower have responded after an online petition referred to video content involving its students.

The petition on change.org – which as of this morning has more than 3,900 signatures details a video in which a number of students feature and use racist language.
T
he petition also makes other allegations about incidents at the school and has called for an investigation by the Department of Education.

A statement issued by principal of Athlone Community College Eileen Donohoe notes that it has been made aware of the appearance of its students in a number of deeply offensive video clips which have been posted, and have caused genuine hurt and upset.

She states that Athlone Community College wishes to express its sincere regret for such hurt and upset.

The statement follows that any student who breaches the College policies faces disciplinary action, and any conduct which may be criminal is reported to the Garda
authorities.

The board of management of Our Lady’s Bower school has also issued a statement expressing the schools shock at the highly offensive video, which was created out of school hours and regret at the upset that it has caused.

It also referred to an older issue detailed on the petition stating that “The school musical Hairspray 2013 very regrettably used blackface to enable the performance.”

It says this was wholly unacceptable and that it deeply regrets and apologises for all and any offence caused by this production.

The school says it take very seriously all allegations of racism.

The statement concludes that the board of management of the school is establishing an independent review of policy and practice to ensure that our school is a safe and inclusive environment for all.”

Full statement issued by Our Lady’s Bower

The Board of Management has this evening released the following statement:

It has come to the attention of the Board of Management of Our Lady’s Bower that three of its students were involved in the creation of a highly offensive video, outside of school hours in 2019, in which students used racist terms. The Board of Management is extremely shocked at the content of the video and expresses its regret at the upset that this video has caused to the school community and to the wider community.

The school musical Hairspray 2013 very regrettably used blackface to enable the performance. This was wholly unacceptable. We deeply regret and apologise for all and any offence caused by this production.

Our Lady’s Bower promotes an inclusive, caring community which is built on equality and respect for all. It is an environment in which students are encouraged to take responsibility for their own behaviour and to look out for others. This is reinforced by school policies, including the Code of Behaviour, the Anti-Bullying Policy, the ICT Acceptable Use Policy and through the delivery of the schools wellbeing programmes.

The school takes very seriously all allegations of racism. The board of management of the school is establishing an independent review of policy and practice to ensure that our school is a safe and inclusive environment for all.

Yours sincerely

Noel Casey
Secretary to Board of Management

Statement of Athlone Community College

In recent days it has come to our attention that one of our students has participated in a number of deeply offensive video clips which have been posted, and have caused genuine hurt and upset. Athlone Community College wishes to express its sincere regret for such hurt and upset.

Our College actively espouses the values of respect, equality and equal treatment of all persons, and this is supported by our College Policies including our Intercultural and Integration Policy, Anti-bullying Policy and our Code of Conduct. In addition, our College curriculum includes modules which specifically address issues of racism and all our students are actively encouraged to reject any kind of discrimination.

Any student who breaches the College’s policies faces disciplinary action, and any conduct which may be criminal is reported to the Garda authorities.

Athlone Community College reaffirms its Mission Statement and commitment where each student is cherished equally and is nurtured to a personal, intellectual and moral maturity.