Co Fermanagh pupil at centre of ‘silly’ school suspension row
THE mother of a 13-year-old pupil suspended for a nose piercing has blasted the “ridiculous” punishment by her daughter’s Co Fermanagh school.
Aoife McCabe, a year 10 student at St Kevin’s College in Lisnaskea, has been excluded from her school since Monday over the incident.
“I’ve had a week of a lot of hassle over such a silly item,” her mother Patricia Boyle told the Belfast Telegraph.
After being told to remove jewellery from her nose by teachers after starting the new school term, Aoife had replaced it with a small and barely visible plastic retainer.
“I had a meeting with the school on Friday morning,” Ms Boyle said.
“The vice-principal had to lean forward on the desk to look very closely to see the retainer was still in her nose.”
“We were then told they weren’t allowed as it was still jewellery.”
She continued: “I think it’s silly at the end of the day, it’s a little piece of plastic that’s not taking away from the look of the school uniform and it’s not hindering her learning.” Ms Boyle said her daughter couldn’t understand why she was excluded, with other pupils in her class agreeing it was “silly” to suspend her over the matter.
“The school goes on and on about wanting the pupils to express their personality but when it’s not in line with what it wants it’s somehow wrong,” said Ms Boyle.
St Kevin’s College was contacted by the Belfast Telegraph yesterday but said it did not want to comment on the matter.
In an earlier statement to the Fermanagh Herald, principal Gary Kelly said he stood by the suspension.
“We have a uniform policy for the school where nose piercing, eyebrow and lip piercing are not part of the policy,” he said. “This girl has been given a week and a half to follow the policy, but unfortunately, the vice-principal has had to suspend her, but she is only suspended until the piercing is removed. Once the piercing is removed, the child can come back to school.”
“We have a policy that we have to follow — it is well printed and published on our website, and in our homework diary.”
“It is unfortunate this has reached the media, as we thought this could have been dealt with.”
St Kevin’s College was renamed this year and introduced a new school uniform after an amalgamation of St Comhghall’s College, Lisnaskea, and St Eugene’s College, Rosslea.
In March, another Co Fermanagh school, Enniskillen Royal Grammar, put two of its pupils in isolation because of their haircuts.
Fourteen-year-old Henry Miskimmin was handed the internal suspension after being told his haircut “wasn’t the image the school wanted to portray to the public”.
At the time, his mother Sandra spoke out against the school claiming she could see no issue with her son’s hair “To style. be isolated for a hair style that doesn’t look untidy — it’s clean and neat. To be penalised for looking like how he wants to look like is wrong,” she said. Parent Geraldine Gillan also took exception with the policy when her 13-year-old son Tiernan faced a similar sanction for his haircut.
School principal Brenda Mussen defended the uniform policy at the time saying it had always had the support of parents.
❝ It’s a little piece of plastic that’s not taking away from the uniform
Aoife McCabe, with mum Patricia Boyle, is suspended for wearing a plastic piercing retainer in her nose (inset)