Northern Ireland

Laser Lunacy gets thumbs up from secondary schools

Laser Lunacy is a drama for schools highlighting the dangers of using laser pens
Laser Lunacy is a drama for schools highlighting the dangers of using laser pens

THE dangers posed by pointing laser pens at aircraft are being highlighted in secondary schools.

Laser Lunacy sets out what happens in the cockpit of an aircraft when a laser light is directed at crew from the ground.

The campaign is the initiative of Belfast International Airport, supported by Arts & Business.

More than 2,000 pupils in six schools will get to see the specially commissioned 20-minute drama.

The awareness campaign followed thirty-five laser pen attacks on arriving and departing aircraft last year. So far this year, there have been 16 incidents.

Laser Lunacy had its first showing before 200 pupils at Crumlin Integrated College. The five other schools participating are Belfast High School, Belfast Boys' Model School, Hazelwood Integrated College, Parkhall Integrated College and Abbey Community College.

Crumlin Integrated College senior leader Linda McGarry, said the performance was thought provoking and of great educational value to staff and pupils.

"The question and answer session at the end reinforced the message and outlined the consequences of this dangerous activity," she said.

Belfast International Airport human resources manager, Jaclyn Coulter, said the response from schools was heartening.

"We have a very serious message to get across to young people and we thought that the most effective way of doing that was through drama," she said.

"In the drama, one crew member is blinded and the aircraft has to crash land, injuring 17 people. The fallout involves a police investigation and, in the follow-up discussion, the young people are told of the serious criminal charges they could face and what effect a Court conviction would have on their future travel and job prospects.

"Laser Lunacy is a drama with edge and we are delighted with the response we have had both from schools and pupils. We want this practice to be stamped out. It is not fun. It is not a game."