College calls police after sixth complaint. Aaron Leaman and Libby Wilson report.
POLICE have seized the laptop used by a senior teacher, who was the subject of three years of complaints of inappropriate behaviourwith students.
The new allegation against former torohanga College social sciences teacher Sean Cassidy, lodged in November, is the latest of six, some of which had been left unresolved by the school until recently.
torohanga police Sergeant Andy Connors said the new complaint related to alleged objectionable material on a laptop. Officers have seized the device and forwarded the complaint to CIB detectives.
Cassidy retired this month. Sunday News approached him at his home yesterday. ‘‘There’s nothing which I have done which is illegal or inappropriate, and the school agreed with that,’’ he said.
The 342-pupil torohanga College is in crisis. The problems coincided with principal Lindsay Dunn’s resignation for unrelated reasons, to take up a new role, and an Education Review Office report that expressed concern about the board’s capacity. An Education Ministry statutory manager has been parachuted in to lead the school, at the board’s request.
Paul Matthews, who was appointed limited statutory manager in October, said this was the second time the laptop had been seized, although he said the first incident was resolved with nothing found.
The complaints about Cassidy came to light in responses to Sunday News Official Information Act requests, part of a #MeToo investigation into sexual harassment in the workplace. The school disclosed a male teacher had been accused of inappropriate behaviour four times between 2016 and April 2018. Principal Lindsay Dunn said the school hadn’t handled the complaints well and conceded restorative justice was inappropriately used in response¯O to the alleged sexual harassment of students, and two complaints were unresolved into this year.
In one case, two female students complained the teacher had invaded their personal space