A teacher claims she was wrongly taken to disciplinary action for wanting two students at her school, including her son, to be allowed to raise their choice of Irish from the normal to a higher level under the Leaving Cert accredited grading system.
The secondary school says it has repeatedly and unfairly appealed to various boards and teachers to allow its son to change his choice in breach of conflict of interest requirements, despite being forbidden to do so by the principal.
The teacher, who cannot be identified by name, has launched proceedings in the High Court alleging, among other things, that the disciplinary process was flawed and biased.
The teacher’s anonymity was requested due to a legal requirement that she cannot be identified because she suffers from an illness that would likely cause undue stress.
On Tuesday, Oisin Quinn asked SC for the teacher Mr Justice Conor Power to continue an injunction preventing the school board from taking further steps in the disciplinary process until her full case is decided.
The lawyer said the dispute arose from the introduction of the accredited grading system in 2020 amid the pandemic. In January 2020, her son and another student chose to study Irish at the Normal level when taking the Leaving Cert. Her son passed his mock Irish exam at a normal level.
The Department of Education announced in May 2020 that the Leaving Cert exams would not be held and would be replaced by the accredited system, where teachers grade students based on specific criteria.
The court heard the teacher wanted both her son and the other student to be able to choose a higher Irish level because they would have had that option on the day of the exam if they had taken the exams.
However, since they had opted for the regular level when applying for the examination at the state examination board last January, this was not possible in the accredited system.
The court heard there was also a dispute over how much of the higher level Irish curriculum both students had completed.
The teacher says that out of the blue in May 2021, the principal sent a report to the board to initiate a “Level 4” disciplinary proceeding – the highest level for alleged gross misconduct and possible dismissal.
She alleges, among other things, that the client was both the complainant and the investigator, while he was only supposed to conduct fact-finding and present both sides to the committee.
The school denies their claims.
It states that despite being warned not to do so by the headmaster, she used her role as a teacher to make representations to the Department of Education and the State Examinations Board in her efforts to put pressure on colleagues and others at the school to get her son into a higher Irish degree to have the level shifted.
This, it is claimed, violates the teaching council’s code of conduct regarding professional conflicts of interest.
The case continues.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/school-says-teacher-made-repeated-representations-to-allow-her-son-to-change-from-ordinary-to-higher-level-irish-under-leaving-cert-accredited-grades-41475833.html The school says the teacher has made repeated reassurances to allow her son to move from ordinary to higher Irish level under Leaving Cert accredited grades