Lisneal College should have steered clear
It was extremely surprising that Lisneal College helped to distribute a letter giving people an opportunity to record their opposition to moves to change the name of the city from Londonderry to Derry.
Several people interviewed on radio, including public representatives, said they couldn't understand what all the fuss was about. Here's why there was a fuss.
Firstly in our deeply divided society, schools should avoid taking sides on highly divisive political issues. And even if they're not actually taking sides, they should steer clear of anything that could in any way give rise to the perception that they are. In France, with its entirely secular system of education this would even be taken a stage further to include matters of religion.
Secondly, presumably there was a cost to the public purse, either in terms of staff time or actual expense, in having letters distributed from and returned to the school office. Was this an appropriate use of school resources?
Thirdly, in our society there is a deeply unfortunate tendency to assume that people can be pigeonholed into just two camps according to both their religious and political opinions. Even if the school principal made no such assumption, it's clear some of those who defended the school's action did. Surprise was even expressed that there were "Catholics" and "nationalist" pupils at the school. Isn't it unfortunate that an educational establishment should give succour, however unintentionally, to such an unsophisticated view?
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Weather for Derry
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 8 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: South east