A Rotorua early childhood teacher has been censured and had her teacher registration cancelled after failing to reveal her dishonesty convictions when applying for a job.

Sally Blumenthal was an early childhood teacher who received five convictions in 2016 for dishonesty when she did not advise the Ministry of Social Development that she was working and earning an income.

She breached the Education Act when she did not report her convictions, according to a decision released by the New Zealand Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal.

The Education Council was informed of the convictions last year when a prospective employer became aware of them and told the council.

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The council's Complaints Assessment Committee referred the convictions to the New Zealand Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal which has since cancelled Blumenthal's registration, according to the tribunal decision.

Blumenthal was convicted in May 2016 to two charges of wilful omission and three of making a false statement. She was sentence to five months' community detention and 80 hours' community work.

The charges related to incidents in 2014 and 2015 when Blumenthal twice failed to tell the Ministry of Social Development she had received income, and three times made a false statement that she had not received income. Blumenthal pleaded guilty to these charges at the time.

She was also convicted of 11 dishonesty offences between 1989 and 1998 which she was not obligated to report to the Education Council when she applied for provisional registration in 2011, as they had happened more than seven years prior.

When applying for work later, Blumenthal failed to meet her obligations under the Education Act to report her convictions, according to the tribunal decision.

The Education Council told Blumenthal it would investigate the convictions in May 2017 and she was given multiple opportunities to explain them. In December they were referred to the tribunal.

ROTORUA DAILY POST
23 Jul, 2018 9:00am
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In its decision the Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal stated it had to consider if the behaviour which resulted in conviction "reflects adversely on the fitness of the respondent to practice as a teacher".

"The tribunal's mandate is to protect the public through the provision of a safe learning environment for students, and to maintain both professional standards and the public's confidence in the profession," the decision said.

"We accept that the respondent's [Blumenthal] conduct adversely reflects on her fitness to teach. Practitioners have an obligation to both teach and model positive values for their students.

"Defrauding the state, and thus the community, is the antithesis of the standard of honesty expected of teachers."

The tribunal finding stated while the 2016 fraud convictions in isolation were not a "clear-cut example of the worst kind of misconduct" Blumenthal had previous dishonesty convictions which, while historic, "satisfied that she has a propensity to act dishonestly".

"The Education Council's Complaints Assessment Committee submits that nothing short of cancellation of the respondent's registration will meet the obligations owed to the public and the profession. We [the tribunal] agree," the decision states.

"We simply cannot be assured that the respondent is a fit and proper person to be entrusted with educational responsibility towards children."

Blumenthal's registration was cancelled by the tribunal and she was censured.

Blumenthal was not employed as a teacher at the time of the decision, which was delivered in April but released online last week.