Unnecessary intrusion into Dunblane cash squabble

10th January 1997 at 00:00
I was shocked and angered by your front-page item "Dunblane four quit amid row over cash" (TESS, December 13). It was, incidentally, three school board members who resigned; the fourth left for purely personal reasons.

It is very easy for people like the president of the Scottish School Board Association who live many miles away from Dunblane to make comments about the situation here.

This is a community that has already been through so much and your report, which came at the end of a week that had seen the town dragged through the media yet again over the Christmas treeissue, was another unnecessary intrusion.

The implication that Mike Robbins and Gerry McDermott were "reluctant to let go" is most unfair and unfortunate. The day after the shootings Mike was specifically asked by the police to act as a parental contact for the media to take the pressure off the bereaved families. The amount of media interest was so intense, however, that Gerry McDermott agreed to share the burden - a burden for which neither had any preparation or training.

The SSBA president's references to lack of communication between the school board and the education authority were also wide of the mark. Nobody disputes that the council's help was available to the board.

But it is not just a question of providing counselling. The board and the Parent-Teacher Association should have been given a named support worker to help them cope with a situation which nobody has ever experienced before and, hopefully, never will again.

As far as the "squabbles over money" are concerned, we are in danger of forgetting that the tragedy had an impact on the school as a whole. It is not up to the board and the Parent-Teacher Association to make decisions about the money which has been sent in to the school. That is a matter for the parent body. There has been a consultation and the responses are being collated: the board and Parent-Teacher Association will then abide by the results.

I am not suggesting that the leadership of the parents has always got things right. But it has not been prepared to succumb to pressure from a vocal group of families. It is sad that others have, because the losers, at the end of the day, will be the children.

JANE ROBBINS Address supplied Dunblane

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