School head struck off for removing child’s plaster cast


A PRIMARY headteacher has been struck off after she performed a DIY removal of a plaster cast from a child’s arm.

Muriel Macdonald, the head of a tiny school on Lewis, could also be banned from ever working with children again.

The 49-year-old had previous convictions for assaulting a police officer and drink-drinking, a disciplinary hearing of the General Teching Council for Scotland heard.

The hearing in Edinburgh heard that Macdonald had already been convicted at Stornoway Sheriff Court of “wilfully exposing” a child in a “manner likely to cause him unnecessary suffering or injury to health”.

The charge added that she “did wilfully and against medical advice remove a plaster cast from his left arm which had been applied by medical professionals”.

Macdonald was placed on two years’ probation following the court appearance in August last year.

Paul Marshall, the solicitor to the hearing, said Macdonald’s breach of the law had called into question her fitness to be a teacher.

Her behaviour could damage confidence in the profession and amounted to a failure to act as a role model, added Marshall.

Macdonald did not appear at the hearing and she was not legally represented.

Marshall said there was written mitigation from Macdonald which made reference to alcohol but he asked the committee not to place significance on any submission that alcohol is a relevant factor.

He said: “In short, this is an offence of causing suffering to a child. The committee is justified in viewing this in a serious light.”

Marshall said Macdonald had been convicted in 2008 of a breach of the peace and assaulting a police officer. He added that in March this year she had been convicted of drink driving.

“This shows a worrying pattern of criminal behaviour over the last two years or so,” he said.

The Convenor of the disciplinary sub-committee, Freida Fraser, said they considered a recent medical report from Broadbay Medical Practice, Stornoway.

“Notwithstanding the clear medical difficulties faced by the respondent as detailed therein, the Sub-committee regarded the nature of the offence as significant,” she said.

The previous convictions “were not held to be of significance to its considerations,” she added.

Ms Fraser said that a reprimand had been considered but ruled out because the papers “did not disclose contrition or acceptance of responsibility on the part of the respondent and that actual harm had been caused to a child in her direct care”.

“The Sub-committee was not satisfied that she has shown genuine remorse nor demonstrated that she has taken steps to address her issues beyond the treatment she is undergoing,” said Ms Fraser.

“The Sub-committee was also mindful of the importance of public confidence in the teaching profession.”

She said that the only appropriate decision was to direct that Macdonald be struck off the teaching register.

Macdonald’s name will also be considered for inclusion on the list of adults banned from working with children.

Macdonald, the head of Bragar primary, made headlines in 2008 when it was alleged she had attacked her own son at a party.

At the time some parents expressed anger that Macdonald was allowed to keep her £50,000-a-year job at the school, which has just 26 pupils.


  1. This piece of journalism would have been much less frustrating if we’d actually been told WHY the accused felt she needed to do this. Perhaps a very valid reason?

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