Kids’ safety comes first
It is a shame you did not ask the Teaching Council for comment before publishing your item ‘Who wants to be a teacher?’ (February 12).
The item quotes a local principal dismissing as ‘absolute rubbish’ two recent decisions by the council’s Complaints Action Committee to refer matters to the independent Disciplinary Tribunal, rather than letting the schools’ principals deal with them.
Had you asked us we could have explained that we were legally obliged to act in the way we did.
In one case a child hurt his head after a teacher pulled his arm, causing him to fall to the floor. Any case involving an injury to a child may constitute serious misconduct, and the committee is required by law to report it to the tribunal.
In the other case a teacher caused a child to cry after pushing him to his desk. This case did not involve serious misconduct, and could have been dealt with by the committee had the person who made the complaint agreed. However, agreement was not possible, so the case had to be referred to the tribunal.
Our primary concern is the safety of children. These cases involved very young children, and the teachers concerned agreed their behaviour fell below the high standards expected of a profession entrusted with their care. Parents and fellow teachers would agree that children should be safe from harm when they go to school.
It is worth pointing out that the majority on every panel of the tribunal are experienced senior members of the teaching profession.
You do your readers a disservice by not presenting both sides in important stories such as this.
JEREMY FRANCE Deputy Chief Executive
Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand