Tag Archives: schools


If you are being bullied or just need someone to talk to click on this link www.teenline.ie  or call 1800 833 634

Bernardos also have a great list of places to access help here: http://www.barnardos.ie/information-centre/young-people/teen-help/finding-help.html


Words are powerful. We must never forget that.

That was about five or six years ago. I don’t remember a single question about the internet or social networks. A few of them were using bebo – back then facebook was still considered the old person version of social networking. Ask.fm didn’t exist. If we had exactly the same class today things would be very different. I teach a TY module on digital media and I know last year we looked at cases where young people lost control of their online identity, or were harassed and bullied by online trolls. But those cases were American – those of Phoebe Prince and Kiki Kannibal. We should have looked closer to home. We need to start connecting what happens to ‘other people’ with what we do, or don’t do, or don’t try to stop others doing online.

I know as a teacher I have a huge responsibility to educate my students about the world they live in; to do my utmost to teach them how to be safe online and how to be a good online citizen. I like to think I lead by example but for the past few days I’ve been asking myself ‘am I doing enough?’ The thing is, I really like my students, all of them. I find it hard to believe that any of them would engage in the kind of horrendously cruel behaviour which led to the tragic suicide of Erin Gallagher last Saturday night and Ciara Pugsley in September. Yet to deny that these things are happening would be the ultimate betrayal of my students, of my role as a teacher and of my heartbreak as a parent when I think of the families who have to live through the most awful experience life can inflict – the loss of a child.

So please, please, if you are being hurt online tell someone. If you are hurting others online, stop.

Words are powerful. We must never forget that.












  1. WIN €3,000! Write a short film script – submit an original concept for a short film that tackles the serious issue of mobile phone use while driving. Winner also gets the chance to work with a team of professional film producers to turn their short film concept into a reality. Must be over 15 to enter. See website www.keepdramaofftheroads.ie The road safety authority and setanta are promoting this competition. Closing date for entries is Friday 16th Nov @ 6pm.
  2. Create an advertising campaign. Total prize fund is €5,000. The Milk It Awards want a team of up to 6 students to promote dairy products to students in your school – you can focus on milk or cheese or yoghurt or all three. You make a 2 minute video pitch with a creative idea. If you are chosen you implement your campaign in your school and may be invited to the National Finals to sell your idea to the client. See website www.milkitawards.ie Closing date for video pitch is 23rd Nov.
  3. UCC law faculty essay competition: €200 for the best essay(s) in each category. Senior students only. Closing date is the 23rd Nov. Application forms are available at www.ucc.ie/law (I can’t find them but I”m told they’re there!). Competition encourages students to consider the relevance and impact of law on their lives and society generally. Write 1000 words on any one of the following topics: (a) “It is now time for Seanad Eireann to be abolished” Discuss. / (b). “The State & not the Family is the ultimate guardian of Irish children” Discuss / (c). “Gay Marriage – the obvious next step?” Discuss / (d). “Should debt forgiveness be introduced?” / (e). It has been argued that because the household charge is bad law citizens do not have to respect it. Do you agree? / (f). Should Ireland have sentencing guidelines for criminal cases?
  4. Fantasy Writing Competition – write a short story in this genre. The theme for this year is “Under the Sea” – think mermaids, sea monsters, creatures from the deep, pirates. There are 3 categories Primary, Junior students and Senior students. Length is 800 – 1200 words. The winner wins a tablet (must be a Galaxy tab or something similar) and a meeting with a top Irish literary agent (in other words the opportunity to get signed and published!!!). Runner up prizes of an ipod touch. See www.facebook.com/johnwestfantastwriting for application forms. Closing date 30th Nov.
  5. Think of a renewable energy idea: The primary school competition is over already so if you log on to the website www.tellthefuture.eu you’ll see examples. Complete the following in 500 words or less (Junior Category)
or 750 words or less (Senior Category): “A global plea has been issued to all young people to submit their practical ideas on how to power their country into the future in a sustainable, environmentally-friendly way. My plan for my country is…” Closing date for entries is the 30th Nov.
  6. Design a cover art project – your aim is to promote positive mental health. Use landscape on A4 size white card in oil, watercolour, crayon or ink. See www.mentalhealthireland.ie closing date for entries is 7th Dec. There is also a photographic competition to promote positive mental health – photos must be taken with a 6 megapixel camera or greater and must be printed A4 landscape 12 inch x 8 inch and a caption/title for your entry must be included. If there’s a person in the photo you must get written permission from them and include it with your entry. Closing date for both competitions is the 7th December.