Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the APNZ News Service office in Wellington.

Teacher resigns after pinching, pulling and yelling at students

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

A teacher who resigned after admitting to pinching, pulling and yelling at her 6-year-old students has had strict conditions imposed on her if she ever again applies for a teaching role.

The woman remains on the teacher's register and has not been censured by the Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal.

The woman's behaviour came to light when another teacher was told about it by a pupil's grandmother, the tribunal said in a newly released decision.

That teacher then asked her own 6-year-old daughter if the teacher in question "had been doing anything naughty''.

The daughter showed her mother where the teacher would pinch her classmates on the fleshy part on the back of the arm.

The teacher told the tribunal her daughter said the respondent "did this to all the naughty children in the class''.

''[The daughter] said that the respondent's fingernails were very long and that was what really hurt.''

The matter was raised with the principal the next day.

The children in the respondent's class were interviewed and they spoke of pinching, yelling and pulling, the tribunal said.

The respondent admitted to the accusations and resigned.

Notes of the school meeting recorded her "unqualified acknowledgement that she had failed the children of the school''.

She told the tribunal she was "deeply distressed and shamed'' and promised to never teach again.

The tribunal said her actions met the definition of serious misconduct.

''...it amounts to physical abuse of a child, probably psychological abuse of a child, and conduct bringing discredit on the profession.''

But it noted the "genuineness of her remorse and the difficult circumstances that she experienced in the year or so prior to the incidents in question''.

The woman's father had died, her mother had become ill and the teacher had to look after her.

Also, the teacher had herself also become ill and was prescribed anti-depressive medication, the tribunal said.

While her name was not struck off the register, the tribunal imposed strict conditions should she ever attempt to teach again, including disclosing the disciplinary action to any future employer and be mentored for the first 12 months of teaching.

- APNZ

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