The Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal has censured a teacher after an incident during which the teacher assaulted two students during a physical education class. One student bent over to tie their shoelaces. The teacher told the student to hurry up, and when he did not, applied a “controlled kick” to make him move.

Another student took exception to the kick and confronted the teacher. After the teacher initially de-escalated the situation, the student taking exception returned in an aggressive manner and adopted a fighting stance. The teacher threw sport cones he was holding at the student, hitting him in the face. Other staff at the school intervened at this point.

The Tribunal noted that both incidents constituted assaults on the children and had emotional impacts on them. The actions also brought the profession into disrepute.

The Tribunal took into account the teacher’s remorse, training undertaken, and counselling they had attended. Ultimately, the teacher was censured, ordered to be supervised by a senior teacher for 12 months, and is required to inform any potential future employer in the next 18 months of this case.

The conduct of teachers is held to a high standard. The Tribunal noted that had the teacher not already taken significant steps toward addressing the incident, the consequences would likely have been more serious.

Alan Knowsley
Education Lawyer