A Rotorua early childhood teacher who admitted to smoking cannabis has been brought before her profession's disciplinary tribunal after refusing to take a workplace drug test.

Bobbette Hanna Harrington was working at Kreative Kidz Childcare Centre in Rotorua in September 2015 when she admitted to her boss she occasionally smoked marijuana.

Centre manager Debbie Nelson was concerned and told Ms Harrington drug screening may be introduced and she would have to report her to the Education Council if she failed a drug test.

In February 2016 all staff at Kreative Kidz Childcare Centre were advised a drug and alcohol policy, including drug testing, would be introduced and in April 2016 Ms Harrington was chosen at random to be drug tested.


However, she refused to take the drug test and in a decision released by the disciplinary tribunal, claimed she had told Ms Nelson she used the drug recreationally in the past.

Ms Harrington felt she was deliberately targeted, refused to take the test and after being told her refusal could lead to dismissal, she resigned.

A week later Ms Nelson wrote a mandatory report to the Education Council, raising the issue of Ms Harrington's potential drug use and her refusal to undergo a compulsory drug test.

Ms Harrington started work at Te Whare Whitinga o Te Ra Early Childhood Centre in May 2016, and her manager wrote a positive employee reference to the tribunal.

The tribunal did note Ms Harrington's refusal to take a drug test "raised legitimate concerns about her fitness to teach" but acknowledged there was "no way of knowing precisely when the teacher's admitted drug use occurred and whether it was a one-off lapse in judgment or a regular habit".

The tribunal found Ms Harrington's behaviour amounted to misconduct and her conduct reflected adversely on her ability to teach.

She was made to take drug tests every three months for a year if she wanted to continue practising as a teacher and to inform her employer of the tribunal's decision.

She was also ordered to pay $1565 towards the Complaints Assessment Committee and 40 per cent of the tribunal's costs.