Students of Enoch Burke pen letter in response to former teacher's behaviour 

LGBTQ+ students describe his presence in the school as "...a daily reminder of the prejudices they feel" and they worry he may say “something harmful to gain publicity".

Students at school where Enoch Burke taught.
Image: Twitter: @WilsonHospital

Students from the Wilson’s Hospital School in Co Westmeath wrote a letter to their former teacher, Enoch Burke, voicing their concerns about his impact on the institution.

Since being released from Mountjoy Prison in December 2022 on the condition that he would stay away from school property, Enoch Burke continued to make appearances at Wilson’s Hospital School.

In response, the Student Council collaborated on a letter that describes how Mr Burke’s visits to their school have been disruptive and negatively impacted their learning experience.

Specific concerns outlined by the students include the fact that they had to go outside, sometimes “in cold, wet, and windy conditions” because of Mr Burke’s unplanned appearances at the school, claims that their education has been disrupted by the ongoing presence of the press related to Burke’s visits, and their worries about Burke’s story negatively impacting the reputation of their school.

Burke’s actions have been particularly stressful for LGBTQ+ students who described his presence in the school as, “…a daily reminder of the prejudices they feel”.

Queer pupils also expressed concern over his future actions, worrying that he may say “something harmful to gain publicity”. The letter shared that students remain worried about what Burke would say to them if he wasn’t being supervised by another teacher.



Students also complained about the disruption in their education, explaining that those preparing for state exams were suffering as they are now lacking a German teacher in the school.

The Student Council concludes the letter with a direct question to Mr Burke, asking why he continues to appear at the school, noting the discrepancy between his claim that he cares for the students and the fact that he continued to disrupt their school experience.

Mr Burke did not accept the letter. It is understood that he was kept away from students during his repeated visits to the school earlier this month.

Enoch Burke was suspended from his position at Wilson’s Hospital School after his alleged conduct at a school event in June where he harassed the principal and publicly disputed a transgender student’s ‘they/them’ pronouns.


While on paid administrative leave, he was arrested in September, and later taken to Mountjoy Prison where he spent 108 days incarcerated for contempt of court for breaching an injunction against him obtained by the school.

Burke was dismissed from his teaching post on January 20 after Gardaí were called to a school board disciplinary meeting attended by the teacher and members of his family. The meeting descended into chaos when his mother and siblings objected to the presence of two lawyers and the absence of the board’s chairman.

Further legal action by the school is expected to be heard later this year as well as Burke’s claim that his suspension was unlawful.

© 2023 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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