Leaving Cert student challenges expulsion for taking video of classmate snorting 'white powder'

A Leaving Cert student who was expelled from a secondary school over videoing and posting on social media a classmate snorting some white powder, which turned out to be sugar is back in court to mount a further legal challenge.

The student who is due to sit his Leaving Cert in the next few months was one of two students who last year were formally expelled by their secondary school after the video taken in the classroom went viral.

Last December, the students, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, got injunctions against the school board of management allowing them attend school for the academic year pending full and final determination of their proceedings.

In the High Court this week, Mr Justice Seamus Noonan was told both students had appealed the decision to expel them and brought their cases to the Department of Education.

Two independent three-person committees were set up under Section 29 of the 1998 Education Act to hear the two appeals in late January.

In the case of one of the students the Committee decided to uphold his appeal but in the case of the other student a Committee turned down his appeal against expulsion.

Mr Justice Noonan was told in the case of the student who lost his appeal the committee accepted he was not responsible for the wide dissemination of the video which had been copied by a third child and later went viral.

In his challenge against the decision of the Department of Education committee the student is seeking an order quashing its decision to disallow his appeal against expulsion.

It also seeks a declaration the committee decision was grossly disproportionate as to be unsustainable and contends the student had co-operated with the school, showed contrition and was willing to engage in a programme of voluntary work.

It is also claimed that if one appeal was allowed then the other appeal should also have been allowed and one committee should have heard both appeals.

The secondary school involved is a notice party to the latest proceedings.

Mr Justice Noonan granted leave for the student to bring the judicial review.

In December last year, the two students got injunctions against the school board of management allowing the students attend school for the current academic year pending full and final determination of their proceedings.

They sought the injunctions as part of their High Court actions aimed at quashing the school's decision to expel them.

Details of the incident were published in an Irish daily newspaper.

The school has appealed the injunction decision to the Court of Appeal and this will be heard at the end of this month.

The students took initial High Court proceedings after they were informed, following an investigation, the school had made "a preliminary decision" they should be excluded.

At a meeting of the school board after the injunctions were granted, the decision to expel the two students was confirmed.

The board found the boys had behaved in a manner that posed a serious threat to the good order and discipline of the school.

The students want that decision quashed on grounds including it breached fair procedures, is disproportionate and flawed.


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