STUDENTS at Portlaoise College took time out last week to celebrate their inclusive school community.
Since it opened in 2007, the school has been known for its welcoming atmosphere, its commitment to equality and respect for all.
Last week saw that commitment strengthened further by a whole-school workshop on gender and equality. The events included music in the foyer, information posters around the school, rainbow flags, badges and a cake sale.
Proceeds of the sale were donated to the Belong to Youth Services group, which works with LGBTI+ young people between the ages of 14 and 23 to create a world where they are equal, safe and valued in the diversity of their identities and experiences.
The prefects at the college organised the events. They spoke with the student body about the importance of equality and respect in and outside of the school.
One prefect said: “Respect is the most important thing in our school, as it sends a strong message that everyone is equal and all are valued members of our school community. When there is respect, everyone can reach their potential.”
The head girl added: “This week is about giving the information to students so they can be informed, and sending out a message that equality is so important in our school.”
Last week was one of many such events that will take place in the college to promote student wellbeing and student supports.
Plans are currently underway for the college’s wellbeing and anti-bullying weeks. Work has also started on the school’s new Wellbeing Wall, which will include advice and information on student supports available in and outside of the college.