‘Embarrassment’ over behaviour of PFA campaign

SIR, — I write this letter as a former student of St Patrick’s Grammar School, Downpatrick, with sheer embarrassment as to how the Parents and Friends Association are running their campaign to “save” St Patrick’s Grammar School. 

The matter of amalgamation is rightly controversial, but must be treated with respect and dignity by all parts. I commend both De La Salle High School and St Mary’s High School for their gentle and respectful approach to the consultation. Let us not forget that both the aforementioned schools are brilliant places of secondary level education in their own right. 

However, in comparison, the Red High PFA’s campaign is incredibly negative, giving people the impression that the closure of St Patrick’s Grammar School is the end of the world.

I ask the PFA members to examine their consciences. How do you think the parents of students in the other two schools feel? How do you think those students feel? Don’t they deserve the same respect as your own students? Just because they wear different coloured blazers, does that make them any less academically capable than your own students? 

I also find the recent Facebook posts in which they are “calling out” politicians, completely pathetic and laughable. Might I remind the PFA that we are in the midst of the worst public health crisis since the Spanish ‘flu. Might I also remind them that politicians, from all backgrounds, are working as hard as they possibly can to help us see a brighter future beyond Covid-19.

While I loved my time in St Patrick’s, and have the upmost respect for the majority of the teaching staff, I will not think twice about sending my children elsewhere if somehow St Patrick’s is spared in this amalgamation process. The PFA is quite simply doing more damage than good. 

To say I am ashamed and embarrassed is an understatement.

Yours etc,