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Student in strike row to face charge

Police to prosecute pupil (15) as Movilla dispute rages on

By Kathryn Torney

The pupil at the centre of the Movilla High School dispute is to face a criminal prosecution, it emerged today.

Twenty-five teachers at the school in Newtownards, Co Down, have been on strike since last Monday after their pay was docked when they refused to teach the 15-year-old who is accused of assaulting a teacher.

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) confirmed today that the pupil will appear in a juvenile court next month. The decision followed an investigation by police, who submitted a file.

A spokesman for the PPS said: “The decision has been made to prosecute and a summons has been issued.

“He is summonsed to appear in court on November 4th for an offence of assault.”

Talks facilitated by the Labour Relations Agency have so far failed to find a resolution to the dispute and as a result the 450 pupils had their seventh day off school today.

Meanwhile, the NASUWT said this morning that it will not back down from its demand that the pupil is taught in isolation or at another school.

The teachers’ union is standing firm on its preconditions despite the parents of the teenager — alleged to have

pushed a teacher in May — speaking out about the emotional turmoil the high-profile teachers’ strike has caused to their son.

The South Eastern Education and Library Board has said that it will not give in to the union’s demands.

In a specially-recorded interview for the Nolan Live television show, the unnamed parents spoke of the trauma that the incident has caused to their son and also revealed that another son, their eldest, had committed suicide earlier this year.

Speaking from the picket line this morning, NASUWT executive member Fred Brown said the union was willing to put the pay issue aside as long as the teachers had a safe and secure environment to teach in.

“It must now be clear to everyone that this pupil has quite severe needs which no reasonable person would expect to be met in a normal classroom,” he added.

Another meeting between the board and the union is due to take place at the Labour Relations Agency tomorrow.

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