The disciplinary hearing with secondary school teacher Enoch Burke has ended and the board will continue to review the matter before making a decision.
The proceeding under Section 4 of Department of Education Circular 49/2018 concerns an alleged misconduct at Wilson’s Hospital School, Westmeath.
Following the conclusion of today’s meeting in Mullingar, the principal and a legal representative of the council were harassed and verbally abused by Mr Burke, his mother and two of his siblings.
Frank Milling and solicitor Katherine Kelly were followed by the Burkes out of a hotel exit and back into the property’s main entrance before fleeing into a meeting room.
Mr. Burke was concerned about the presence of legal representatives of the board of directors at today’s meeting.
Before being asked to leave the premises by hotel staff, Mr Burke said it was “preposterous and reprehensible” for the board meeting to be held under such circumstances.
He described the trial as “sham and a cover up”, reports RTE.
Mr. Burke also objects to the presence of legal council representatives.
Amid heated protests from the Burke family, local gardaí were called to the scene. They observed the situation for approximately 90 minutes before leaving the hotel.
Sources close to the council said the trial was being conducted “exactly to the letter” of the departmental circular regarding disciplinary procedures.
These regulate revised guidelines for the suspension or dismissal of teachers and principals.
However, Mr. Burke argues that these guidelines do not allow for additional representation for the Council at that hearing.
While the criteria allow a teacher to be accompanied by up to two people, there is no way the board will have additional representation as the process takes place in a board meeting.
The circular establishes that, after the hearing, the council will inform the teacher of its decision and of any disciplinary action proposed if this is the result of its deliberations.
Any sanctioned teacher or principal has the right to appeal to an independent appellate body appointed by the Board.
A dispute ensued between Mr. Burke and the school after the then principal emailed staff asking them to address a student with a new name and “they/them” pronoun.
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