An Auckland teacher who struck a teenage boy around the head for eating in class has been allowed to continue teaching at the school.

The Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal censured registered teacher David Bruce Reid and imposed conditions which relate to mentoring, personal development and behaviour management.

Reid was working as a long-term reliever in an ESOL department at Manurewa High School in south Auckland.

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In September 2017, Reid was teaching a class in the science lab where he had been asked by a colleague to ensure no food was consumed.

Reid asked a child in his class to stop eating three times and was repeatedly ignored.

Angered, he slapped the student around the head and slammed down the lid of his laptop, the tribunal was told.

The child was then sent out of the classroom. While leaving, the Year 9 boy swore and kicked chairs.

Manurewa High School. Image / Google Maps
Manurewa High School. Image / Google Maps

"We do not condone the boy's behaviour, but we do see it as evidence of his frustration and distress, provoked by the respondent's conduct," the tribunal said.

Reid immediately admitted what happened was inappropriate, but described the contact as more of a non-aggressive "cuff" than a slap.

The tribunal said it was a "clear case" of serious misconduct ruling that his "loss of self-control reflects adversely on his fitness to teach" and the incident may bring the profession into disrepute.

It noted the use of physical force could be "humiliating and belittling" and amounted to an assault on a child, which could have been the subject of prosecution.


Reid was apologetic, calling the action "out of character", but said he was exasperated at the time. He had not felt able to control the class.

Reid was given a formal warning by the school and initially signed an undertaking not to teach. However, by negotiation Reid returned to the school under certain conditions.

He now teaches full time in the ESOL department. The tribunal ruled that he must show a copy of its decision to any future employer.