Teacher lost it, humiliatedboys
A relief teacher has been disciplined for calling two disruptive students ‘‘dickheads’’.
Kevin Grace, 65, was teaching at St Brendan’s School in Upper Hutt in September 2016 when he became frustrated with two 12-year-old boys who were kicking a soccer ball around in class rather than tidying up as he requested, a decision by the New Zealand Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal released on Thursday said.
He tried to intercept the ball, but failed, and instead physically moved the laughing students, one by the elbow and one by the collar, and called them ‘‘dickheads’’.
The primary school was alerted to the manhandling after another teacher found one of the students crying in the cloakroom.
Grace apologised to the boys and the principal later that day, the tribunal decision noted.
It found moving the boys ‘‘showed a lack of professional judgement and a lack of personal control’’.
It was never appropriate to pull a student by the collar and ‘‘there was nothing in the circumstances which indicated that moving by the elbow was in the best interests of any student’’, it said.
‘‘Being called a dickhead in conjunction with being pulled by the collar is humiliation that a student should not have to endure.’’
However, the tribunal also said it ‘‘can see that in some circumstances the use of such language might not be so harmful’’. One of the students had returned the insult, it said.
‘‘Relief teaching presents its own set of challenges. The teacher needs to be resilient and have a toolbox of resources ready to use in the face of adversity.’’
Grace, who has also worked as a senior adviser at the Ministry of Education, accepted his wrongdoing throughout the tribunal’s investigation. The incident happened on his one and only day working at St Brendan’s School.
He was censured and ordered to pay $1365 in costs to the tribunal.