Second Limerick school embroiled in Facebook bullying controversy

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Facebook: Investigations are underway after a schoolboy's account was 'fraped'
A SECOND school in County Limerick has become embroiled in a cyber-bullying controversy - less than a week after 28 students were suspended at Colaiste Chiarain in Croom.

A SECOND school in County Limerick has become embroiled in a cyber-bullying controversy - less than a week after 28 students were suspended at Colaiste Chiarain in Croom.

The Limerick Leader has learned that investigations are underway after a parent complained that a number of young boys at Galbally National School “fraped” her son’s Facebook account.

It is understood the victim - a 5th class pupil at the school - inadvertently divulged the password to his Facebook account to a number of 6th class pupils, who then began using his account without his knowledge.

Their actions only came to light earlier this week after the boy was taunted by other pupils at the school over comments which had been posted on his Facebook account.

“We only heard about this on Monday, when my son came home from school very upset because everyone was staring at him all day, talking and whispering about him,” said the mother of the 11-year-old boy, who spoke on condition on anonymity.

She said upon further investigation, she discovered that several inappropriate comments about the parents of other children attending the school had been posted onto her son’s Facebook account over the past few weeks.

She said those responsible also send dozens of friend requests to older women and even exchanged photographs of a sexual nature with some of them.

“I went on myself and the messages that they were sending to girls in their class were very inappropriate and kind of nasty comments,” she said.

According to the mother, she is aware that three 12-year-old boys have been accessing her son’s account for the past two or three weeks.

“The three of them have been going on his page and they have been writing messages to girls in the school and things like that pretending to be my son,” she said.

The mother said when she learned about what had happened she printed off screen shots of the posts and handed them into the principal of the school, Martin Kearney.

He told the Limerick Leader he is aware of the incident, which he said he is satisfied is being “dealt with appropriately”.

It is understood the parents of the boys at the centre of the controversy have been spoken to.

Mr Kearney also insisted that a talk on internet safety, which was held in the school this Wednesday night, was not connected with the complaint.

“Our internet safety programme is going on the whole time. In February at our board of management meeting we updated our internet safety policy where we put a complete ban on all gadgets such as phones, iPads and laptops which can access the internet,” he said.

“We had planned on having a talk for parents (about internet safety) so we organised a speaker to come and speak to the parents but he was not available until well after Easter so I decided to give the talk myself. It just happened to coincide with the incident, it was not timed in response to it,” he insisted.

Meanwhile, the mother of the boy, whose Facebook account was “fraped” says she will be calling on the principal to suspend the three students over what happened to her son..

However, Mr Kearney said the school does not comment on individual cases.