Doesn’t character matter?


teacher who tried to hire a gang leader to assault her principal has been cleared to teach again:

. . . She was also charged with falsifying records and other misconduct.

The Teachers Council has imposed a series of conditions on her returning to teaching and has censured her.

The council said she had had serious health issues and both her parents had recently died. It says there is nothing to suggest her teaching ability is under question.

There could well be a lot more to the story that the report shows.

I hope there is and that is shows that character is taken into account when questioning teaching ability.

Why wait?


There are so many questions which could be asked about the case of James Robertson Parker, the former deputy principal who has admitted multiple charges of sexually abusing children.

But the two which baffles me most are prompted by this:

Teachers’ Council director Peter Lind said the council was made aware of the case when it went before the courts.

Because he was unlikely to be out of jail in the next few months and will not pose a direct threat to children – the Council would wait for the full police investigation to be completed before they decided whether Parker would keep his registration.

The man has admitted multiple charges and the Teachers Council is waiting before they decide whether he keeps his registration.

The questions are:

1. Why wait?

2. If this isn’t enough to result in deregistration, what is?




Please Miss


Should a teacher lose her job for moonlighting as a prostitute?

Teachers and their advocates are constantly complaining about teachers’ workloads. The school board could use this to justify concerns that the teacher’s extra-curricular activities would compromise her ability to do her day job properly. But:

The woman reportedly told the principal that her action in her own time was not his concern, and that it was not affecting her ability as a teacher.

Teachers Council director Peter Lind said the most important factor was whether the teacher’s second job was affecting her teaching duties, “and there would have to be actual evidence”.

That’s not easy because there are a whole lot of things which might impinge on a teachers’ performance in the classroom which would not be sackable offences, the demands of looking after young children or elderly relatives, for example.

But prostitution is a wee bit different from these altruisitc activities and that might create difficulties.

It’s a primary school so the board doesn’t need to concern itself over the possibility of pupils hiring the teacher to help them with their homework. But it might worry about problems which could arise if pupils’ fathers – or mothers – were clients.

It might also have concerns about how the teacher’s side-line activities impact on the school’s reputation and that of the teaching profession:

Employment lawyer John Hannan, who knew of the case, said a school could possibly take action even if it didn’t have a policy either preventing teachers taking secondary jobs or ensuring they first seek approval from their board. “It’s a case of whether the outside employment is regarded as incompatible with the role of a teacher in terms of role-modelling and in terms of any policies that the board of trustees might have in place.”

Another employment lawyer, Patrick Walsh, said the council could intervene if the school deemed the teacher’s second job involved “conduct that brings discredit to the profession”.

There is a glimmer of hope then, that the board might be within its rights to tell her she can’t do both jobs. And if it’s not then what does that say about our society?

I don’t know why she needs the extra money and what happens to her two children while she’s earning it. But if she thinks she’s doing it for them she’s got her priorities wrong.

And whatever employment law states, I wouldn’t want my children taught by a prostitute because making something legal doesn’t make it right.

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