In a recent decision by the Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal, a Principal has been censured after a finding of serious misconduct. Complaints had been made to the principal by a student alleging indecent assault by another student. The principal did not discuss the allegations with the student but met with their parents in the presence of the school counsellor. At the meeting, the conduct of the child was discussed with the parents at which time the principal asked them to take the child home until the matter could be investigated and resolved with CYFS involvement. He further advised the Board Chairperson that the suspension was justified on health and safety grounds when he knew this to be false.

The Tribunal held it was procedurally incorrect and unlawful to informally suspend the student. Further, his actions had “adversely affected the child’s emotional wellbeing”. Ultimately, due to the Principal’s actions and dishonesty, risking the relationships between family, school and the Board, there was a finding of serious misconduct. This resulted in censure and being stood down from his post as principal. This finding emphasises how important it is to follow proper procedure regardless of how serious the situation being dealt with is.

Alan Knowsley
Education Lawyer