herald

Thursday 15 November 2018

Teacher loses case against school move

The High Court has dismissed a teacher's challenge to decisions to initially transfer her to another school and later place her on administrative leave.

Mary McEneaney claimed, that since the Cavan and Monaghan Education Training Board learned in 2009 that she suffered from depression, she had been discriminated against on grounds of her illness.

The court heard she had been the subject of a number of complaints by pupils and their parents about her teaching.

Ms McEneaney, a teacher of biology and home economics with an address in Monaghan town, sought to quash the transfer decision of August 2013 and a later decision to place her on administrative leave.

She said the Board had failed to implement appropriate procedures under a 2009 Department of Education Circular dealing with competency issues.

High Court President, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, dismissing her application, said Ms McEneaney suffered significant health issues.

The only way she could return to teaching at Largy College in Clones, Co Monaghan, would be after a number of complaints against her had been "appropriately resolved".

TRANSFER

Ms McEneaney rejected claims by the Board that the compulsory transfer from the 500-pupil Largy College to a smaller school in Co Cavan was based on concerns about her mental health and that it was intended as "a fresh start".

She alleged she had not been given a proper opportunity to deal with five complaints from parents and pupils. There had not been a formal investigation into the complaints, all of which she rejected.

The Board claimed no investigation had been proceeded with, due to its concerns about Ms McEneaney's health.

It denied any wrong doing and argued its decision to place her on administrative leave was "appropriate, proportioned and rational".

Judge Kearns said he was satisfied the Board was entitled to place her on administrative leave with full pay pending an investigation.

"The interests of the school, its students and, more particularly, Ms McEneaney herself, required no less," he said. The placing of an employee on administrative leave did not amount to a punitive decision.

hnews@herald.ie

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