A former teacher at Rathkeale College was censured for sharing LSD with his mates during a beach party that ended with a drowning death and his arrest for supplying the drug.
Isaac Dransfield, now 27, had bought and shared the class A drug with seven of his friends during a birthday party at Aromoana Beach in Central Hawke's Bay in November 2014.
He was charged with supplying LSD after one of his mates took the drug and went missing.
Police were called, Dransfield admitted supplying the drug, and his friend was later found to have drowned. The body of the missing man was recovered but authorities have not linked the death to LSD.
The New Zealand Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal censured Dransfield last November after a hearing in Wellington, suspending his provisional teacher registration for a year, and noting the decision on the national register of teachers.
The tribunal imposed the least punitive sanction for serious misconduct, not wishing "to bring a promising career entirely to an end" and in the face of a petition from Dransfield that he deserved a harsh punishment that would deter others.
The tribunal heard Dransfield had pleaded guilty in a criminal court to supplying the drug and was discharged without conviction and sentenced to 250 hours' community work, which he completed at an SPCA branch and a soup kitchen, where he still volunteers weekly.
Dransfield was working at Rathkeale College at the time of the Aromoana Beach party and had returned to lead classes there from August until November last year, the tribunal was told.
Several character referees, including Rathkeale College principal Willy Kersten, spoke highly of Dransfield, and the tribunal was told the relief teacher had resigned from the Masterton school.
When questioned by members of the tribunal, Dransfield admitted his limited drug use when at college and spoke of the toll taken on himself, his friends, and his family since his criminal behaviour in Hawke's Bay. The tribunal heard he had sworn off drugs entirely since the incident.
"I've had to live with it every day of my life since then. I can honestly say I'll never go down that track ever again," Dransfield told the tribunal.
He had since shifted with his partner to Blenheim, where he worked two jobs and has waning hopes of a return to education.
"However, I feel once a teacher's name and reputation has been tarnished, it would be difficult to be able to pick up teaching work. Since this occurred, the dream of being able to teach in New Zealand has been getting smaller and smaller.
"I love teaching, it has shown me a light within myself and within others that I recognise as potential. I only hope I haven't wasted my own potential with such an idiotic mistake."