Tasteless award sparks outrage

Prinicipal Elizabeth Armstrong

Prinicipal Elizabeth Armstrong

THERE has been outrage this week after it was claimed local teenagers handed out inappropriate and potentially devastating awards to each other at their school formal, including one titled “most likely to kill yourself.” 
The award is understood to have been given out at the recent Enniskillen Royal Grammar School formal, among other more light hearted awards. 
The formal was organised by the students, and while the school has no direct involvement in the event it is now investigating the issue. 
Principal Elizabeth Armstrong has said, “We as a school are aware of this issue and we are also very aware that our Sixth Formers themselves have been pro-active in signalling their concern in this respect. 
“We are supporting them as a school as they deal responsibly and sensitively with it. 
“We will help make sure that the message and learning from this situation is clear and unambiguous about the need to be careful at all times about the power of our written and spoken words for ill as well as good. 
This is a key theme which in the days of instant comment and rapid interchanges on social media we all need to be aware of.”
At such a young and impressionable age, this kind of behaviour and statements could have a detrimental impact on the students involved.
Raymond Farrell, mental health practitioner and local councillor, has urged students to be sensitive to the issues around them.
“Anything of this nature is extremely sensitive and it is something that when people reflect back on, they will see that this was not wise activity.
“I am very conscious that when young people have a night out, things can be said and organised that afterwards they may question the wisdom of.”
“In this small community, there are families who have lost love ones through suicide and there may be people in that social group, who have family members who have mental health problems – for some people it may have been extremely sensitive to them.
“There is an awful lot of work being done in our schools on the issue, and a lot of young people who I have met have sought to find out how they can help promote good mental health. I would encourage young people to approach issues in mental health with sensitivity and reflect how they present and discuss things,” added Councillor Farrell.

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