The Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal has recently cancelled a teacher’s registration after he verbally abused students on two separate occasions. The Tribunal found that this conduct amounted to serious misconduct.

During the first incident the teacher swore at, and physically threatened, a student. The threats included threats of violence and yelling “put-downs” at the student.

In the second incident the teacher became increasingly frustrated with two students when they did not immediately leave his classroom for their next class. The students told the Tribunal that the teacher swore at each of them, becoming visibly angry.

The teacher was referred to the Tribunal for serious misconduct. Conduct will amount to serious misconduct if it has adversely affected, or is likely to adversely affect, the well-being of one or more students, and if it adversely reflects on the teacher’s ability to practise, or may bring the teaching profession into disrepute.

The Tribunal decided that this was a clear case of serious misconduct and emphasised that yelling or swearing at students is completely “unacceptable and unprofessional”.

The teacher submitted that he had been under a number of extreme stressors when the situation occurred. The Tribunal accepted this, but reiterated that any person in a teaching capacity must be able to deal with stressors in their professional life. Stress is not an excuse for acting unprofessionally towards students and young people.

The Tribunal considered that the incident amounted to serious misconduct and showed that the teacher was not a sufficient role model for students.

The Tribunal cancelled the teacher’s registration and ordered him to pay costs.

It is important to be aware of your professional obligations as a teacher, especially when dealing with young people. If you are confused about these obligations, it pays to seek advice from a professional with experience in the area.

 

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Alan Knowsley and Hunter Flanagan-Connors