Teacher censured after pupil hits head on wall

By Imran Ali -
Juris George Karklins, a teacher at Whangarei Primary School for 28 years, was censured after being found guilty of serious misconduct.
Juris George Karklins, a teacher at Whangarei Primary School for 28 years, was censured after being found guilty of serious misconduct.

A Whangarei school has apologised to the family of a boy who banged his head on a wall while being disciplined by a teacher who has been found guilty of serious misconduct and censured.

The New Zealand Teachers' Disciplinary Tribunal ordered Juris George Karklins, a teacher at Whangarei Primary School, to complete a professional development course.

He has taught at the school for 28 years.

On a morning last November, Mr Karklins discovered at short notice that he had to provide relief cover for a class from 9am to 10.30am. Among the class was a student he found "challenging" because he had been disruptive during class.

Part of the discipline procedure was for the student to sit on the staffroom steps during morning tea. However, the student ignored the directive.

The teacher sought advice from the principal who told him to find the student.

The student turned up in his music lesson soon after. Mr Karklins tried to ignore the student but he then lost his temper, forcibly removing him from the classroom.

"He did so by walking up to the student, picking him up, and taking him to the cloak room, where he deposited him on the floor," the tribunal said.

"At this time the student was thrashing around. In the process of being set down on the cloakroom floor, the student banged his head against the wall."

Mr Karklins admitted he acted inappropriately and had lifted the student up "in anger".

Principal Martin Van Rijswijk said both the school and Mr Karklins accepted the tribunal's findings.

He said Mr Karklins deeply regretted what happened and had fully cooperated with the school's investigation into the incident, as well as the subsequent tribunal investigation.

"Over the past year, the school has worked closely with Mr Karklins to ensure that there is not a repeat of this type of behaviour. The school has also unreservedly apologised to the family of the boy," Mr Van Rijswijk said.

The censure will remain on the teacher's register until his practising certificate expires in April next year.

The council also ordered Mr Karklins to pay half the costs of the tribunal and half the costs of the Complaints Assessment Committee.

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