Patrice Dougan is the Herald's education reporter.

Former Dargaville principal David Bargh censured for loitering in teacher's garden

Former Dargaville principal David Bargh has been censured for stalking a young teacher. Photo / file
Former Dargaville principal David Bargh has been censured for stalking a young teacher. Photo / file

A principal who stalked a young teacher, lurking around her home, has been censured by the teacher's body.

Former Dargaville High School principal David Kenneth Bargh was convicted last April for loitering at the young woman's home and unlawfully being in an enclosed yard.

Jessica McPherson, a teacher at the school Bargh headed, told the court she had lived "in constant fear" for months while he lurked in her garden late at night.

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In a decision released yesterday, the New Zealand Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal said his behaviour amounted to serious misconduct.

It acknowledged evidence given in court that his actions resulted from a flare up in his obsessive compulsive disorder, which sparked a deterioration in his mental health.

He became "fixated" with McPherson, the decision said, and when he was discovered by police on her property appeared "somewhat confused".

Bargh was censured by the disciplinary tribunal, and a number of conditions placed on his practising certificate, including a requirement he inform any employer of his obsessive compulsive disorder.

He was also ordered to continue to work with his doctor to address and manage his medical issues, and report to the Education Council quarterly on his progress.

Bargh, who has worked as a teacher for 25 years, claimed there was no malicious or menacing intent, or sexual motivation for his actions.

He has accepted his conduct was illegal.

He was convicted of four charges in April last year and fined $1000.

In her harrowing victim impact statement, McPherson described how the "prolonged" and "calculated" stalking took a toll on her life, and how she attempted to protect herself from an unknown prowler.

"I was, and still am, forever flinching at every noise, knocks at the door and constantly looking behind myself both in and outside," she said.

McPherson said she felt "anxious and violated" by the stalking and had been "living in constant fear".

"I have been a prisoner in my own home," she said.

McPherson described the abuse of trust she felt at the hands of her own principal, and how he used the school's computer system to gain confidential and personal information on her "to fulfil his perverted feitsh".

- NZ Herald

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