Teacher told boy getting changed he was looking for “somewhere to park his bike”

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A PRIMARY teacher has been reprimanded after telling a pupil getting changed after gym he was “looking for somewhere to park his bike”.

Alistair Paul also kicked the youngster on the bottom and shin and told him to get out of his way.
The incident at Campie Primary, Musselburgh, East Lothian, on January 13 last year, is said to have caused the nine-year-old “distress and harm”.

A report on the case by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) revealed that Mr Paul was charged by police with assault of a child but the case was dropped by prosecutors.

Mr Paul, who attended part of the disciplinary hearing in Edinburgh earlier this month, admitted making the comment about parking his bike but denied the child was getting changed at the time.

The teacher, who has two decades’ experience in the classroom, also denied kicking the pupil.

The hearing took evidence from the mother of “Pupil 1” who said he asked her: “Why would he do that to me…what have I done?”

The witness said her son later burst into tears over the joke about finding a place to park a bike. He told her the class had laughed at the joke, which he did not understand.

The school’s head, Debbie Beveridge, said Mr Paul was working as a supply teacher and added she had previously spoken to him about a separate “parental concern”.

She said the teacher had a very relaxed approach to his relationships with children and had “tried to make a joke” of the complaint from Pupil 1.

The presenting officer, Gary Burton, told the panel that there was clear evidence Pupil 1 was getting changed at the time of the “bike” comment and that the boy had been kicked on the shin and bottom.

The panel accepted that the boy was getting changed and that he had been kicked, causing distress and embarrassment. But the panel found that very little force was used and he was not physically or psychologically harmed.

In considering whether Mr Paul’s fitness to teach is impaired, the panel took into account a statement he made following the incident.

He wrote: “I sincerely regret the incidents that took place in the classroom. My comments and actions were ill judged and I recognise the harm that they have done. However, at no point did I intend to humiliate or bully the pupil.

“Such a thought appals me and stands against everything I have believed in and have tried to adhere to as a teacher for the past 20 years.”

The panel also revealed that he had been suspended as a result of the incident and had missed the opportunity to take up another teaching post.

The panel decided the teacher’s fitness to teach was impaired and decided the incident was serious enought to justify a conditional registration order and a reprimand, both of which would apply for two years.

The registration order will require Mr Paul getting a report on his conduct every six months from the head of education for the area in which he is teaching.

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