The Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal has ordered a teacher to attend professional development, and imposed a censure and conditions, following a finding of serious misconduct.

The teacher was provided a school-owned laptop so that he could complete work from home. A complaint was made to the school that the teacher was accessing inappropriate content from the device.

The school requested that the teacher return the laptop. After several delays, the Principal collected the device from the teacher’s home. The school had the laptop forensically examined.

The examination revealed that the teacher had been accessing pornographic websites, chat sites, and dating sites. There were signs that the teacher had tried to remove traces of his activity before returning the laptop. The school dismissed the teacher.

There was no evidence that the teacher used the laptop at school, or that any student was exposed to inappropriate material. Regardless, the Tribunal found that the teacher’s conduct, by using school equipment, may bring the profession into disrepute.

The Tribunal ordered the teacher to attend professional development, immediately hand over any school-issued electronic devices upon request, censured him, and has required him to inform any prospective employers of this decision for the next two years.

It is important to understand that, despite taking place at home, inappropriate use of school property can result in serious consequences. Workplace electronics should never be used for recreational purposes without approval.

If there are concerns about how equipment is being used outside of school grounds, it is wise to speak with a professional experienced in the area.

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Alan Knowsley
Education Lawyer


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