The Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal has recently censured a teacher and placed special conditions on his employment after he encouraged two students to physically assault young people trespassing on school property.

The teacher was living on the school grounds when students from a rival school trespassed onto the property. The teacher encouraged two students to chase and physically assault the trespassers.

One of the students tackled a trespasser and began to hit him. During the altercation, the trespasser broke his collarbone. When the teacher arrived he congratulated the student. The teacher alerted the authorities that the trespasser needed an ambulance and then held him while they waited for the police to arrive.

The Tribunal had to determine whether the teacher’s conduct amounted to serious misconduct or conduct otherwise entitling the Tribunal to exercise its powers.

The Tribunal decided that the teacher’s conduct reflected adversely on his fitness to practise. The teacher had encouraged two students to physically assault someone, likely causing fear in the victim, and negatively impacting their well-being and learning.

The Tribunal also stated that the teacher’s conduct reflected negatively on his ability to be a good role model, and placed the students at risk of harm, in breach of the Teaching Council’s guidelines.

The Tribunal decided that the teacher’s encouraging of the students to physically assault others, and the disregard of the trespasser’s physical injury would likely lower the reputation of the teaching profession.

For these reasons the Tribunal concluded that the teacher’s conduct amounted to serious misconduct. The teacher was censured and ordered to pay costs.

The Tribunal also imposed conditions on the teacher’s employment such as preventing him from being in a position of management or leadership, as well as ordering him to complete courses covering issues such as anger management.

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


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Alan Knowsley and Hunter Flanagan-Connors