Seanad debates

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Education (Student and Parent Charter) Bill 2019: Committee Stage


10:30 am

Photo of Lynn RuaneLynn Ruane (Independent) | Oireachtas source

I do not support any of the amendments tabled by Senator Craughwell but I consider it appropriate to speak on this amendment in particular. It is disappointing, at a time when we talk about trying to engage students in their school community and in equal learning opportunities with their peers, teachers and boards, to effectively try to remove that ability from them on the whim of a principal or board of management. The question is exactly who decides what is appropriate. That is very unfair to student councils. I am not sure we will get to it today, but in a later amendment I am trying to do the complete opposite, namely, to give student councils more power to set their own rules. I strongly disagree with the amendment, which I was disappointed to see.

In this House, with the support of other Senators, we strongly pushed to reduce the voting age to 16 in order that people could begin to vote in local and European elections when they are in school. I question the right to tell them what is appropriate and inappropriate when their daily lives are affected by so much. If it is only appropriate when one is discussing the art supplies of a classroom, that minimises the potential for a vibrant student council. I wish to voice my strong opposition to such an amendment.


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