Teacher’s laptop seized
and brushed against them. They also complained of inappropriate comments in conversations.
The complaints resulted in a letter of warning for misconduct being given.
In another incident, a boy complained the teacher touched his leg. The boy’s parents later withdrew the complaint, however, saying they didn’t want their son to be identified. CHRISTEL YARDLEY/ STUFF
The teacher’s laptop was uplifted and searched by the school’s independent IT support technicians after questions were raised about its use. No inappropriate material was found.
In mid-2018, a complaint was made accusing him of playing music with inappropriate lyrics during a Year 9 class. The teacher was also accused of carrying out an illegal search of students’ bags. The school investigated and a formal warning letter for serious misconductwas placed on file for 12 months.
Matthews said all complaints against the ex-teacher had been resolved, with the exception of the latest matter flagged with police. The college was ‘‘cooperating fully’’ with investigations.
In a December school newsletter, college board chairwoman Lorraine Fox acknowledged the retirement of Cassidy, who had been teaching for nearly 40 years. She said: ‘‘Thank you all for the special and uniqueways you have contributed to our school. I acknowledge the retirement of Sean Cassidy.’’
Matthews said the statement was an agreed ‘‘formula of words’’. ‘‘The BOT chair was following and respecting this formal resolution – and not making public comments that would identify students or compromise ongoing investigations,’’ he said.
Cassidy confirmed the earlier complaints and said he and the school had resolved them ‘‘amicably’’ but he has denied knowledge of the latest complaint.
‘‘With torohanga College, we settled, we discussed and we worked out and we came to an understanding of what theywere talking about.’’
Cassidy said he had been teaching for 40 years and had chosen to retire. He was confident police would find nothing of concern on his laptop.
‘‘So when you bring up these other things, I’m ... gobsmacked – I’m really gobsmacked – especially since I’ve had no contact,’’ he said. ‘‘Nobody has contacted me in terms of what you’re talking about.’’
An Education Council spokeswoman confirmed Cassidy had signed an undertaking not to teach, annotated on the teaching register on November 23.
The town’s residents have welcomed moves to sort out the school’s leadership problems.
Anne Houston has two daughters who both attended the college. Shewas happywith the school, but felt it was less organised over the past year, and welcomed the arrival of a statutory manager. ‘‘Bringing in this extra help is going to sort it out.’’
Julian Phillips, who lives near torohanga College and has¯O friends deciding whether to¯sendO their children there, said it was important for the community to have a good college. They saw the limited statutory manager as a positive step to address the school’s problems. additional reporting Nick Truebridge and Caroline Williams
torohanga College called in police over teacher Sean Cassidy.