A TEACHER struck off for a string of foul-mouthed comments to pupils has claimed he is a victim of political correctness.
Michael Rankin told one pupil “I’ve sh****d your mum”, dropped a C-bomb and several F-bombs in class, suggested one child was a w****r, and called another “Shrek”.
Despite that, a disciplinary hearing in Edinburgh this week heard glowing tributes from former pupils of Mr Rankin’s.
His supporters – now adults – told the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) that Mr Rankin’s “informality” helped make him an “inspirational” teacher.
But the GTCS was unmoved and ordered that the former technology teacher at Ardrossan Academy, North Ayrshire, be banned from the classroom.
The 54-year-old, whose previous jobs included working in the Australian prison service and as a taxi driver, claimed the decision to strike him off was made when he was sacked from his job at Ardrossan Academy.
Mr Rankin, from Skelmorlie, North Ayrshire, claimed he was a victim of “political correctness gone too far”.
The teacher faced 19 charges in front of the GTCS, covering the period August 2012 to June 2013, all of which were found proved and involved pupils aged 13 or 14.
He told a pupil: “Every time I sh** your mum she makes me a sandwich, that’s why I’m fat.”
Mr Rankin said to another student: “I need my glasses, I can’t see because of too much w****** – is that why you wear glasses?”
And watching a scene in the film Bend It Like Beckham, where a car can be seen rocking, he was charged with telling a pupil: “That’s me and your mum in the back.”
He used the F-word at least six times, called a pupil a “fat c***”, and sprinkled the words “arsehole” and “bastard” in lessons.Pupils were also dubbed “dafty”, “mongo”, and “fatty”.
Despite the evidence, seven ex-students leapt to his defence by writing statements which were read out at the hearing.
One pupil described him as an “encouraging and reassuring teacher” who would “go out of his way to help pupils in need”.
Another said: “He was an effective and inspirational teacher. There was a degree of informality in his class which was why we engaged with him the most.”
David Smith, 23, said future generations had been “robbed” of his teaching methods.
He said: “He was my tech and product design teacher. I’m not saying he didn’t use the odd swear word, because he did. But he never, ever crossed that line with us. He was never derogatory, it was always in jest – playful humour.
“I’m not saying his more recent comments are acceptable but he had a different style of teaching and it worked.
“I definitely owe my success as an electrical contracts manager to him. He has changed a lot of people’s life in a positive way.”
The technology teacher, who used to play football for Dumbarton, decided not to attend the hearing to face the allegations.
A statement read out on his behalf stated: “Whilst there was a degree of informality in my classes, I always stuck to boundaries. I believe I had a good relationship with my class.”
Giving evidence, deputy headteacher Alison Crawford said: “I was shocked when I heard what the students told me. He swore and made insulting comments at pupils – behaviour which I believe is absolutely not appropriate.
“His comments were unacceptable and would do nothing to raise the level of attainment and achievement in children.”
Presenting officer Gillian Sim said: “The language used in the classroom was inappropriate, high derogatory and sexualised, and Mr Rankin completely disregarded expectations to maintain a professional distance from students.
“His comments were simply not appropriate for a person in a position of trust and who should have been a role model for students.”
In striking him off, the GTCS disciplinary panel said his behaviour between was “wholly inappropriate” and “unacceptable”.
Mr Rankin, speaking at home, said: “To be honest this has been a really difficult two years. It has been embarrassing to myself and my family.
“I was expecting this outcome and feel like the decision was made a long time ago to remove me from the register.
“It’s political correctness gone too far. I don’t want to make any further comment on the result – the letters from my ex pupils say it all.”
He added: “I am no longer wanting to pursue a teaching career.”
Charges in full
1. Between 16 August 2012 and 6 June 2013, both dates inclusive, whilst employed as a teacher by North Ayrshire Council, you did use inappropriate language towards S3 and S4 pupils and in particular you did
a. say to Pupil A “you’re s**** at football and you’ll never make it” or words to that effect;
b. say to Pupil B “you’re a f****** idiot for not coming to my class. You should just f****** not come to my class”;
c. say to Pupil F
i. “for f***’s sake, how many times have I got to show you”
ii. “I s****** your mum”
iii. “I need to put my glasses on, I can’t see because of too much w****** – is that why you wear glasses? Is that what happened to you?”
iv. “every time I s*** your mum she makes me a sandwich, that’s why I’m fat”
v. “you will get nowhere in life” and “you’re clueless”
vi. “you can give this present of a mirror to your mum but I already gave her a present last night”
vii. “that’s me and your mum in the back of that car” whilst the class were watching a scene from the film “Bend it Like Beckham” which showed a car bouncing up and down;
d. refer to Pupil F as
i. a “specky m****” and “specky”
ii. a “dafty” when Pupil F asked for assistance
e. say to Pupil G “how many pies you had today” or words to that effect;
f. repeatedly refer to Pupil G as “a big bag of wind”, “fatty”, “fat b******” and “fat c***”;
g. write the word “fatty” on the back of a mirror made by Pupil G and thereafter show it to the class
h. tell Pupil E to punch another pupil in the arm as a response to the pupil breaking Pupil E’s model
i. repeatedly use the words “f***,” “f******,” and “f****** idiot” when speaking to pupils
j. say to pupils “you wee b******,” “shut up you wee a*******” and “you’re f****** worthless”
k. refer to a pupil as “Shrek”
l. whilst at a school football match in your capacity as the football team coach, say to players on the opposition team that they were “idiots” and “Cumnock m*****” and you did thereafter instruct your pupils not to mention that you had made the said comments to other teachers as the football team would be stopped and the pupils would not be believed.