Race row teacher struck off

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A TEACHER who danced on a nightclub bench before calling a bouncer a “f****** monkey” has been struck off.

Rachael Patterson, who worked with “challenging” youngsters in Aberdeen, also made monkey noises during the racist incident, a hearing was told.

The 28-year-old was sacked from her job and convicted earlier this year of “racially aggravated conduct”.

Mrs Patterson attempted to save her teaching career at a hearing in Edinburgh this month, but a panel of teaching watchdogs has now barred her from the classroom.

The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) panel ruled that striking the teacher off was the only sanction which would “sufficiently demonstrate to the public GTC Scotland’s commitment to promoting equality and diversity.”

At the hearing in Edinburgh Mrs Patterson admitted she was drunk and said she regretted her behaviour towards staff at Aurum nightclub.

The teacher was enjoying a night out at this Aberdeen club when she racially abused a doorman (Pic: Google)
The teacher was enjoying a night out at this Aberdeen club when she racially abused a doorman (Pic: Google)

 

But she claims she was wrongly convicted of making racist comments.

Mrs Patterson appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court in January this year and was fined £600.

She was convicted by Sheriff Graeme Buchanan of “act[ing] in a racially aggravated manner” and shouting, swearing and making “racist remarks” to an employee of the nightclub in May 2012.

At the GTCS hearing, presenting officer Paul Reid named the bouncer as “M Lee Mbaye”.

He said: “The remark was to refer to the steward as ‘You’re nothing but a f****** monkey’ and the racially aggravated manner was to make monkey noises.”

He said the teacher was not appealing her conviction or the decision to sack her.

Giving evidence, Mrs Patterson denied acting in a racist manner.

She said: “I was at Aurum with my husband, brother-in-law and a number of friends. We were in a happy, jovial mood and had been out for a meal.”

She admitted: “I was dancing on a bench and was asked to leave. A situation arose where I was charged with talking in a racially aggravated manner. I pleaded not guilty.”

She added: “My position remains that I did not act in a racially aggravated manner and I did not make racist remarks.

“I do regret my reaction to the door staff. I also regret that on the night my consumption of alcohol was such that my defence was not accepted by the court.”

Mrs Patterson said teaching children from troubled backgrounds was “a job I loved” and “in my personal life race and colour and ethnicity makes no difference to me.”

She said one school she worked at, St Machar Academy in Aberdeen, had around 20% of children who did not speak English as a first language.

The headteacher of the school she worked at and her former tutor gave evidence to the panel of her good character.

The headteacher of St Machar Academy in Aberdeen, Isabella McIntyre, described Mrs Patterson as “exactly the kind of person we need in Scotland”.

Richard Dargie, of Edinburgh University’s Moray House school of Education, said she passed her teaching qualification with “distinction.”

GTCS panel convener John McGachey said: “Given the nature of the conviction, removal [from the register] was the only disposal that would sufficiently demonstrate to the public GTC Scotland’s commitment to promoting equality and diversity.”

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