Teacher’s lap­top seized

Sunday News - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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