Cork school begins talks with pupils on the issue of consent

Cork school begins talks with pupils on the issue of consent
Students attending their assembly event at Deerpark CBS, Ballyphehane, with principal Kevin Barry. Picture: David Keane. 

SCHOOLS have a responsibility to teach their students about consent and every school should introduce consent classes and seminars, a Cork-based principal has said.

Kevin Barry, principal of Deerpark CBS, delivered a talk on consent to some of his 5th-year students yesterday.

Deerpark CBS has more than 250 students, of 27 different nationalities, and Mr Barry said inclusion and addressing topical issues are key philosophies within the school.

He plans to give the same talk to every year, except 1st and 2nd years and has invited the head of the Cork Rape Crisis Centre, Mary Crilly to address the boys on the issue.

“Every school should address this subject with their students, it’s a topical issue and that is what these teenagers are reading and hearing about,” said Mr Barry.

“Recent issues highlighted in the media have further highlighted the issue of consent and we’re determined to educate our boys on it.

“Schools have a responsibility to teach their students that there is a line and where that line is,” he added.

“We want to develop our students holistically as well as educationally.”

Speaking to the 5th year pupils yesterday, Mr Barry highlighted the importance of asking consent and not assuming it has been given.

He also said that if someone is drunk, high on drugs or unconscious, they do not have the capacity to give consent.

He added that if a person gives consent but then changes their mind, that this must be respected.

Speaking before the talk, vice principal of the school, Aaron Wolfe, said:

“The issues that have been highlighted in the news recently have really brought this home for us as a school, the need to tackle it.

“All schools should really be running programmes on consent but, of course, parents also have a major role to play in this discussion.

“It can be an awkward conversation for parents to have with their children but it’s certainly a conversation that needs to be had,” he said.

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