An­other ‘Sel­lotape’ teacher is pro­moted

Sec­ond teacher who taped child’s mouth is now a deputy prin­ci­pal, and hear­ing into f irst case may not be made pub­lic

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - NEWS - By Ni­cola Byrne news@mailon­sun­

A TEACHER who al­legedly sel­l­otaped shut the mouth of a pupil, has been pro­moted to deputy prin­ci­pal of the same pri­mary school, the Ir­ish Mail on Sun­day has learned.

The shock­ing rev­e­la­tion comes as the Teach­ing Coun­cil of Ire­land this week in­ves­ti­gated a com­plaint against an­other teacher who al­legedly sel­l­otaped the mouths of five pupils in an un­named school.

In the Coun­cil’s first ever fit­nessto-prac­tise in­quiry, the girls said their mouths were taped by a sub­sti­tute teacher in fifth class when they were ‘giddy and mess­ing’.

The Ir­ish Mail on Sun­day has learned that this is not the only al­leged in­ci­dence of ‘tap­ing’. How­ever, while the first al­leged in­ci­dent led to a com­plaint to the Teach­ing Coun­cil, the sec­ond saw the teacher kept on staff – and sub­se­quently pro­moted.

The school in ques­tion de­clined to com­ment when con­tacted this week.

A par­ent at the school said she shocked when the in­ci­dent hap­pened four years ago.

‘My daugh­ter came home and told me the teacher had put sel­lotape on the mouth of a boy, and I thought she was jok­ing. We just couldn’t be­lieve it. It’s like some­thing out of Vic­to­rian times,’ she said.

‘But the school gave her an­other chance and she’s now deputy prin­ci­pal, although the boy has left.’

The board of man­age­ment of the school dis­cussed the is­sue on sev­eral oc­ca­sions, but no sanc­tion was taken against the teacher, ac­cord­ing to an­other par­ent. ‘There was a feel­ing she was young and made a mis­take,’ he said.

Mean­while, the Teach­ing Coun­cil ad­mit­ted to the MoS that the re­sults of the first fit­ness-to-prac­tise hear­ing may never be made pub­lic.

The fe­male teacher in­volved faced al­le­ga­tions of pro­fes­sional mis­con­duct re­lat­ing to the in­ci­dent, which hap­pened in March 2012.

‘I was scared and shocked,’ said one of the girls giv­ing ev­i­dence this week. An­other girl said she thought the threat to tape the girls’ mouths was a joke, but when the teacher ac­tu­ally did it, she be­came scared.

The girl, now 17, said the pupils agreed a plan: one would ask to go to the toi­let, but would alert the prin­ci­pal in­stead.

The teacher al­legedly re­fused to let them leave the room.

The teacher failed to turn up to the hear­ing and was not rep­re­sented. In a writ­ten state­ment to the Coun­cil, she re­jected the al­le­ga­tions, say­ing the girls taped their own mouths – which they deny.

The hear­ing con­cluded on Wed­nes­day and the panel met to con­sider their judg­ment on Thurs­day. The pub­lic may never find out the re­sults of that in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

‘Af­ter an in­quiry con­cludes, the panel will con­sider whether a sanc­tion should be im­posed on the reg­is­tered teacher,’ said a Coun­cil spokesman.

‘Un­der the Teach­ing Act, it is a mat­ter for the Coun­cil to de­cide if it is in the pub­lic in­ter­est to pub­lish the find­ings of the Panel, and any sanc­tion de­cided on by the Panel.’

Com­ment­ing on the sec­ond al­leged in­ci­dent, a Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion spokesper­son said it was, ‘the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the rel­e­vant school au­thor­ity to en­sure the pro­ce­dures for deal­ing with child pro­tec­tion con­cerns are fol­lowed’.

How­ever, it added that school au­thor­i­ties are not re­quired to re­port pro­tec­tion con­cerns ‘in re­spect of their em­ploy­ees di­rectly to the Depart­ment’.

A spokesper­son for the teach­ing coun­cil said it does not com­ment di­rectly on com­plaints.

‘Taped up when giddy and mess­ing’ ‘It’s like some­thing out of Vic­to­rian times’

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