Smacking case teacher gives up fight over job
By Andrew Denholm, Education Correspondent
The Scotsman, December 15, 2001

A TEACHER who was banned from the classroom after smacking his eight-year-old daughter in a dentist’s waiting room has given up his fight to win back his old job, The Scotsman can reveal.

The man has decided not to appeal against North Lanarkshire Council’s decision to prevent him from returning to work at a primary school.

The 50-year-old will instead be employed full-time at a council-run computer resource centre on his former teaching salary of £26,000.

’There is no room for people of principle who are prepared to take a stand on discipline’ BANNED TEACHER

Last night, he blamed his decision on a lack of support from the council’s education department and a creeping culture of political correctness which made teachers “idle bystanders” in the classroom.

He said: “Teachers today are like Butlin's Redcoats. In the current climate, all you can do is stand in the classroom and look on, regardless of what is happening in front of you.

“There is no room in today’s education system for people of principle who are prepared to take a stand on discipline and who are not scared of voicing their views. The child is now in charge.”

The teacher went on to question the attitude of officials at North Lanarkshire Council.

He said: “The question marks they have placed over my ability to keep control based on one incident involving my daughter outside the classroom have made it impossible for me to go back to teaching.

“How could I have ever intervened in any incident of indiscipline in the classroom without a cloud of suspicion following my every move? My actions would always be subject to the closest of scrutiny. I would have been hamstrung.”

The financial burden of taking the council to an appeal, then to an industrial tribunal, is also part of his reasons for accepting the ruling. Facing up to a future outside the classroom, the man expressed his disappointment at the turn of events which ended his career.

He said: “This is a very tough time for me, particularly at Christmas, because it brings back so many happy memories of my time at school. There has been a tear in the eye on several occasions.”

The man’s decision not to appeal brings to an end a four-year battle to win back his job after he was arrested for smacking his daughter, now 11, six times on the bare bottom.

The teacher was removed from the teaching register for “conduct infamous in a professional respect” following his suspension by the council in 1999, when he was found guilty of assaulting his daughter. The father admitted spanking his daughter when she became hysterical as the pair waited in a dentist’s surgery in Hamilton on Christmas Eve, more than three years ago.

Staff told the police and the teacher was charged with assault and banned from the family home over Christmas. At his trial, he was found guilty of assault but admonished in a case which led to a debate on what constitutes reasonable chastisement by a parent.

Last month he won back the right to teach when three appeal judges overturned the General Teaching Council’s ruling on a technicality.

However, the council’s own disciplinary committee then banned him from being a teacher on the grounds that there was a risk he could react in a similar way in the classroom.

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