Vaimoana Tapaleao is the New Zealand Herald's Pacific Affairs and People reporter.

High school teacher found guilty of serious misconduct

The incidents with the teacher went as far as back as October, 2007, to as recently as 2014. Photo / iStock
The incidents with the teacher went as far as back as October, 2007, to as recently as 2014. Photo / iStock

• Teacher either singled out, bullied or acted in a less than professional manner towards her students
• Failed to take reasonable steps to discover a student was dyslexic
• Made student cry in class
• Ripped a student's work in front of class
• Read a male student's personal text messages to the rest of the class

An Auckland high school teacher has been found guilty of serious misconduct following a number of bullying incidents that included her showing a "vindictive attitude" towards students.

The female teacher, who has permanent name suppression, was the subject of a number of complaints from Year 13 students of the unnamed school.

In a decision released by the New Zealand Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal, the particulars of the charge says: "For a sustained period of time, she had and failed to address inappropriate and/ or deficit relationship with her students."

The document goes on to tell of several incidents in which she either singled out, bullied or acted in a less than professional manner towards her students.

The incidents included failing to take reasonable steps to discover a student was dyslexic and therefore tailor her teaching style to help them.

She treated that same student's presentation in class as a joke and reduced another student to tears.

Another incident saw her looking up a student's posts on a site called Ask.FM and later referred to the posts in class, telling students words to the effect of: "I know what you all got up to in the weekend and how f***ed up you all got.

"I know whether or not you spit or swallow."

The teacher was also found to have ripped a student's work in front of class, read a male student's personal text messages to the rest of the class and constantly implied that the teenagers were stupid.

Students who were late to her class were also required to do push-ups.

The incidents went as far as back as October, 2007, to as recently as 2014.

Documents show the Complaints Assessment Committee (CAC) proposed that the mandatory report be resolved by agreement - to which the teacher agreed, but which the school declined to agree.

The principal of the school put forward a mandatory report to the then NZ Teachers Council, following the teacher's resignation.

The principal said: "A number of Year 13 students complained to a counsellor and deans about [name of teacher] behaviour as a teacher. They referred to it as bullying in the form of put-downs, sarcasm, making a student cry, tearing up work in front of him etc."

The Tribunal ruled that the teacher be censured for her admitted serious misconduct and issued a number of conditions, including that she be mentored in developing relationships with students.

She was ordered to pay just over $1500 for CAC's costs and that any school she is employed with in future should get a copy of the decision, among other things.

The teacher involved is no longer teaching.

- NZ Herald

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