Not struck off: Teacher who shook baby so hard child's brain bled

The man was previously charged by police and found guilty. Photo / iStock
The man was previously charged by police and found guilty. Photo / iStock

A teacher who shook his baby boy so violently the child suffered a brain bleed will be allowed to keep his registration.

The man, whose name is suppressed, was referred to the Education Council after a conviction for injuring with reckless disregard in December last year.

A New Zealand Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal decision said the incident occurred in May 2014, when the father was at home caring for his three-year-old and six-month-old baby, while his wife worked.

The baby boy was unsettled due to a change in routine following a holiday, and was refusing to sleep or drink from a bottle, causing the man signification stress.

"The Defendant out of frustration lost his self control," the decision read. "He picked the victim up with both hands raising the victim above his head. He then began shaking the victim with enough force to cause the victim's body to stiffen before flopping into unconsciousness."

After an unsuccessful attempt at CPR, the man called his wife, who was teaching at the school where they lived on-site. She came home, and rushed the baby to a local doctor, who immediately called for a helicopter.

The child suffered a brain bleed, but has no apparent long-term effects.

The man was charged by police, with the court finding him guilty and sentencing him to two months home detention and a range of counselling and anger management courses.

On applying for a teacher's registration certificate last year, the man disclosed the conviction to the Education Council and was referred to the tribunal.

In its decision the tribunal said it was as sure as it could be the man was not a danger to the public, and that the behavior would not be repeated.

"Plainly this is a tragic case," it said. "A teacher with an unblemished record in a moment of madness shook his young son resulting in a nightmarish outcome for all concerned. It is a matter of extreme good fortune that his son appears to have emerged out of this unharmed."

The tribunal said as the matter was unconnected to the man's teaching career the profession would not be diminished.

However, as the incident was serious misconduct it required a censure. The tribunal ordered an annotation to be added to the man's record and has required that he report the matter to any prospective employer for a duration of three years.

He was granted name suppression with regard to the privacy of his wife and children.

- NZ Herald

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