The New Zealand Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal has found a teacher guilty of serious misconduct after she struck an adult family member with a steel vacuum cleaner pipe approximately five times during an argument.  The family member complained to the Police and the teacher was charged and pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon.  The teacher was discharged without conviction on the basis that a conviction would deprive her of the right to teach.

The Education Council became aware of the criminal offence when renewing the teacher’s practice certificate.  The teacher agreed that her conduct amounted to serious misconduct and the Disciplinary Tribunal decided to impose conditions on her practice rather than de-register the teacher.

For 18 months the teacher must work under a mentor to ensure the teacher is rehabilitated into the profession and the teacher must provide a copy of the Tribunal’s decision to any prospective employer.  The Tribunal held that although the use of violence placed the teacher’s registration in danger, in the circumstances it was satisfied that a rehabilitative approach was the right course of action.

Alan Knowsley
Education Lawyer