Parents of school strike boy tell of tragic background
Our son’s been traumatised by the suicide of his brother
The mother and father of the young schoolboy caught up in a bitter strike at a Co Down school have told of the grief he has suffered since the death of his brother earlier this year.
In a specially-recorded interview for the Nolan Live! show last night, the unnamed parents spoke of the trauma the incident has caused to their son.
And they described the strain that the media coverage and public opinions surrounding the ongoing industrial action have put on their child.
“They don’t know my son, I don’t know their son or daughter, so how can you judge someone you don’t know?” the boy’s father said.
A total of 25 members of staff have taken industrial action at Movilla High School in Newtownards. The action was sparked following an alleged assault by the boy against a member of staff and an ensuing disagreement over the docking of pay for teachers who did not wish to teach him.
The teachers have asked for the pupil to be removed from the school or taught in isolation, but education authorities have refused.
The boy’s father last night described how his son had suffered bad dreams and emotional torment since the suicide of the family’s eldest son at the beginning of this year.
“He’s got up and he’s shaking and scared,” he said.
“It’s far too much for a 15-year-old to take in. He thinks more about life, he’s constantly thinking about things.
“If things could be different I’d rather be gone than my son gone, because I’ve seen 40 years of life while my son was only a kid. So God knows what’s going through his head at 15 years old.
“That was the first body he had to look in to and it broke his heart. I’ll never have a full heart again because there’s a bit of it missing, so I can’t honestly say what my son is going through at the present time.”
He also spoke of the deadlock in the dispute which will see the school closed for a seventh day today.
“We were told an option the union put forward was that if my son went in to school he wasn’t allowed to talk to anybody or his friends all day. He
had to sit in his class by himself with one teacher all day. We said there’s no way, why not just put him in jail?
“I’m sure the teachers have taken alot of abuse, once they done away with the cane. This little incident has sparked it.”
The boy’s mother also spoke of her sorrow that the situation had meant other children not being able to attend school.
“We’re feeling it for the parents too. We know they have jobs to go to and they need their kids back at school,” she said.
Talks aimed at breaking the deadlock are expected to resume tomorrow at the Labour Relations Agency in Belfast.