Editorial: Children's future must be put first

By Andrew Austin

Is it enough that teachers are good teachers or do they need to be good role models to their children?

I suppose this question is relevant to anyone who holds a position of authority or influence but since teachers are there to instruct and educate young minds, we can focus on them.

The issue is also relevant now after the conviction this week of a Hawke's Bay teacher of theft.

Amanda Scott, 42, a teacher at Heretaunga Intermediate, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to stealing a pair of sunglasses and was fined $300. However, it has also been revealed that Scott had a conviction of aggravated robbery more than 20 years ago.

The school says the matter is being dealt with in "the appropriate professional manner", which is fair enough, but some parents would argue that they have the right to expect their children's teacher to be a person of a certain standing.

Obviously people who make mistakes when they are young should have the right to redeem themselves, but when they reoffend later on, as in this case, it brings everything into sharp focus.

It is safe to assume that most parents would not want their children taught by someone who had stolen something, while it is almost a certainty no one would want their child's teacher to have been convicted of aggravated robbery, or any other serious crime.

It will be interesting to see how the school handles this one. They are certainly taking the issue seriously, with a statement released yesterday saying the focus was their children.

That is the key to resolving this issue - putting the wellbeing and education of the children above everything else.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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