CCTV showed stressed teacher attacking student

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A HEARING was shown shocking footage of the moment a stressed teacher “lost it” and slammed a pupil into a wall.

Christopher Butcher called the secondary school student a “dwarf”, grabbed his shoulder and pushed him into the wall during the incident at a school in Aberdeenshire.

The video was shown to a disciplinary hearing this week, where the 61-year-old admitted all four charges against him.

Mr Butcher slammed the student into a wall
Mr Butcher slammed the student into a wall

 

Mr Butcher, who had taught for 31 years without incident, admitted the clip left him feeling “dreadfully ashamed”.

The two-minute clip, which was played twice to the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) panel, shows Mr Butcher bringing a “really small” pupil into the corridor at Fraserburgh Academy after he had misbehaved in class.

No sound was recorded, but it is clear that Mr Butcher is shouting at the student as he stands within 30cm of the teenager with his arms crossed.

The pupil tries to move away, but as he turns to walk off Mr Butcher grabs him roughly by the shoulder, swings him around and slams him into the corridor wall.

The student hits the wall with force and his body can be seen shaking from the impact.

The incident happened at Fraserburgh Academy in 2013
The incident happened at Fraserburgh Academy in 2013

 

Mr Butcher then stands over the pupil – who comes just above waist height – and continues to berate him.

After another 30 seconds of shouting, other teachers appear in the corridor. Mr Butcher then walks back into the classroom, where he was assisting a supply teacher during an English lesson.

As he walks out of shot, he appears to be smiling whilst in discussion with a colleague.

One teacher said in a statement to the GTCS that it looked as if Mr Butcher was “very angry” and was “just holding it together” when she saw him in the corridor.

She confirmed that he said “I just lost it”, or words to that effect, after the incident.

Mr Butcher, who was present while the footage was played, kept glancing at his desk when the CCTV was shown for the second time.

Mr Butcher admitted the footage "still had the power to shock him"
Mr Butcher admitted the footage “still had the power to shock him”

 

He admitted that the video “still had the power to shock and perplex him”, and that he was “dreadfully ashamed and upset to see himself acting in such a fashion”.

He accepted all charges, which stated that on Monday 24 June 2013, he called a student a “dwarf”, “stupid” and “inhuman”, and “grabbed him by the shoulder and pushed him back into a wall with a closed fist”.

The teacher, who had a clean 31-year teaching record previous to the incident, was immediately dismissed by Aberdeenshire Council at a disciplinary hearing following the incident.

Mr Butcher appealed the decision, but then decided to resign from his position at the school.

Andrew Griffiths, head of education and staff development with Aberdeenshire Council, said: “Mr Butcher did not demonstrate any remorse at his disciplinary hearing.

“There was not the level of emotion I would expect from someone in his position. I felt he was blaming the pupil for the prolonged attack.

“From looking at the CCTV we can see that the pupil looked scared and as if he was backed into a corner and trying to get away.”

Some parts of the GTCS hearing were held in private, which explored details surrounding Mr Butcher’s health and the health of his family at the time of the incident.

However, it was made clear that Mr Butcher has been granted time off work in the past to take anti-depressants.

Ashamed

While giving evidence at the hearing, Mr Butcher said: “I accept full responsibility for my actions. It was an isolated incident wholly out of character.

“Over 31 years I have dealt with an enormous multitude of similar situations, and I feel dreadfully ashamed to see myself acting in such a dangerous and reckless fashion towards the pupil concerned.

“In the past I have been successful in dealing with similar pupils. I regret having frightened the child and I have often wondered whether it has coloured his opinion of teachers in general.”

The GTCS panel decided this week that Mr Butcher’s fitness to teacher was “impaired”. But they have yet to decide what action to take. This could include finding him unfit to teach and striking him off.

But Mr Butcher made clear this week he had “no intention” of teaching again and considered himself retired.

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