FURIOUS parents have criticised school bosses for trying to cover up sicko headmaster Andrew Melville’s arrest – after the school janitor was ordered to buy up all the copies of the newspaper covering the story.
The former head teacher was handed 150 community service order and was placed on the sex offender’s list for three years after admitting possessing child porn images yesterday.
Melville of Muirfield Station, Gullane, pleaded guilty at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last December to being in possession of and distributing indecent photographs between June 13, 2004, and May 30, 2005.
But, parents were left unaware that Melville’s absence from Whitecraig Primary School was due to suspension, believing their trusted headmaster was ill.
And when a local East Lothian newspaper announced Melville’s arrest last March, the school’s janitor was seen clearing the shelves of newspapers in the only shop in the village.
Appalled parents have branded whoever took the decision to try and hide the truth from them as “a disgrace”.
East Lothian Council is refusing to name or discipline the unnamed female teacher for taking the “awful” decision.
Angry mum Tracey Doran, 35, said: “Rumours were rife that the janitor had gone to the local shop and bought all the newspapers reporting about Melville when it was first announced.
“I don’t know what they were thinking because the story was all over the television and radio that day, so they were wasting their time and money.
“But to try and dupe us all like that is a disgrace. Someone should be reprimanded for making that awful decision.”
At first, school chiefs denied anything to do with the buying up of the newspapers, but the rumours were confirmed at a PTA meeting just weeks after Melville’s arrest.
Mrs Doran said: “We were at a school meeting a few weeks later and the acting headmaster stood up and apologised to us all about what had happened.
“He said it was nothing to do with him and the decision was just a bad mistake.
When confronted the janitor denied all knowledge of the incident.
But the shop owner backed up the story claiming he was “really surprised” when all the copies of the newspaper were snapped up.
He said: I remember the guy coming in and buying all the copies of the Courier. At the time, I thought it was a fairly strange thing to do but thought nothing of it.
“I then ordered more copies from the supplier, and it was only then I saw the story about Melville.
“There’s no way they could have kept a story like this quiet. I just don’t know what they were thinking.”
An East Lothian Council spokesperson said: “I can confirm that a teacher at Whitecraig Primary, acting upon her own initiative and without consulting East Lothian Council, asked the school’s janitor to buy up all copies of the East Lothian Courier from shops in Whitecraig when the news about Mr Melville broke.
“East Lothian Council does not condone this action and views it as extremely regrettable.