A DISPUTE has arisen in a County Limerick school over whether students should be allowed park their cars on the campus or not.
A number of pupils argue that if they have a full driver’s licence, insurance, tax and NCT then they should be allowed to park their cars on the grounds of Scoil na Tríonóide Naofa while attending classes.
Principal of the state-of-the-art school in Doon, Eilis Casey said: “The board of the school made the decision not to facilitate student parking in the interests of the health and safety of the school community.”
Mike Dee, father of Conor who is in sixth year, said there is an “issue, definitely”. Conor is 18, has a full driver’s licence and his own insurance on his own vehicle. Mr Dee estimates the total cost at €3,000 yet Conor can’t park his vehicle in the school car-park.
Before his son went back to school in September Mr Dee said he told him to go to the school directly and ask could he park his car at a place of their choosing in the car-park.
“You educate your children to be responsible. I wanted him to do things the right way instead of sneaking in. He said he would hand the keys in at reception in the morning going in and pick them up in the evening on the way out – to which he was told no,” said Mr Dee.
He says he could understand where the rule came from if pupils were revving cars or doing “doughnuts” in the car park.
“If my son did that I would let him walk half a mile in the rain. You are innocent until proven guilty in my mind. It is very easy - put a procedure in place and if you get out of line you are banned from parking in the car-park, end of story. I would have no issue with stringent rules,” said Mr Dee. Currently Doon GAA are accommodating the six to eight students who drive to school but if not for them they would have to park in the village.
“The other point is they can go in and drop off or pick someone up. There is no issue with that. So he drops off the lads to school then would have to drive his car back to Doon, park it and then walk all the way down to school again.
“You are talking about students who will be going into third-level education or out into the world next year. You are trying to educate them to do things the proper way and approach things with a level of competence and maturity. They have been told this and that but basically it is our rule goes and we don’t have to apologise or make excuses – a bit like Irish Water,” said Mr Dee. A letter from the school was sent out – it is believed to all parents/guardians – on October 14.
“The Board of Management reiterates its decision not to allow parking on school grounds in order to ensure the safest possible environment for students and staff. Students who breach this rule will be subject to sanctions in accordance the Code of Behaviour,” it reads.
“I don’t know how they think a 12-year-old would be driving a car to school. It is only relevant to boys and girls doing their Leaving,” said Mr Dee.
Another student told the Leader: “I am 18 so can legally vote, smoke or drink. I have passed my test, I’m insured under my own name, the car is under my own name. There are about 30 or 40 spaces vacant ever day. So I am good enough to drive on the road with teachers but not good enough to park my car beside them?”