Government officials have confirmed rumours that all living teachers who worked in schools between 1940-1990 in Tyrone are to be quizzed over language they used within classroom walls to describe pupils with ADHD, numeracy and literacy problems as well as those with minor learning difficulties.
The news comes after successful entrepreneur Paul Kelly (41) from Caledon sued St Judas’s PS for labelling him ‘deadly thick, like a plank‘ in a school report in 1983. Kelly was diagnosed as having ‘mild literacy problems’ recently and maintains his father ‘bate the lugs off him’ for being what his da called ‘slow in the head’.
“I used to write my ‘B’ and ‘D’ back to front, hinting I was on the dyslexic spectrum. Today I would receive extra help. Back then the Master called me ‘Kelly the Gob’ because that was how I spelt God. And it wasn’t just me. He called my numerically-challenged brother ‘fingers’ because he couldn’t count over 10. It really was inappropriate. We slashed his tyres in P7 but he deserved it. I’m earning more now than that bollocks ever did.”
Others have come forward with evidence of amateur diagnosis on school reports. Fergal O’Hanlon, a NASA rocket engineer from Loughmacrory, revealed he was told in 2003 that he had ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) as a child, causing his inattentiveness at crucial times during the school day. His report from 1977 remarked: “If Fergal continues to jump around on his seat during morning quiet reading time, I nail his useless feet to the floor. Otherwise, working well.”
“I couldn’t help myself. I had undiagnosed ADHD. The Master would get the heaviest lad to sit on me as punishment. Even that was wrong – him calling the lad ‘Fat Frank’. It turns out he had a glandular problem later in life which was why he couldn’t shift the weight as a youngster. I want compensation. And see that ‘quiet reading’? It lasted until his hangover cleared.”
Officials also announced the collection of brown pennies for ‘black babies’ was being looked at.