A SCHOOLBOY was stabbed in the back of the hand after a teacher asked her class to give another boy a Chinese burn.
Drama teacher Katie Berker was exasperated with one of her pupils and asked other students “would someone give that boy a Chinese burn?”
When one of the youngsters administered the punishment, the victim responded by plunging a pencil into the back of his hand, drawing blood.
The bizarre fracas at Mackie Academy, Aberdeenshire, has now landed Miss Berker in front of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).
The 53-year-old – who once appeared on Stars in Their Eyes alongside Matthew Kelly – this week appeared by video link at a GTCS hearing in Edinburgh.
The teacher admits that on January 14 last year she told an S3 pupil to give another pupil a Chinese burn although she denies it was an instruction.
She also admitted telling the boy who received the burn his attitude was “s***” but denied calling him a “little s***”. She also denies that her fitness to teach is impaired and that she is unfit to teach.
Deputy Head Teacher Craig Sim gave evidence to the hearing of the statements he took from students following the incident.
One youngster told Mr Sim: “The pupil was shouting and Miss Berker said, ‘Give him a Chinese burn’. I took it as a joke but another pupil didn’t. He said, ‘Are you serious?’ twice and went and did it. So, the other pupil stabbed him and Ms Berker called him a little s***.”
Another pupil said: “The two pupils were mucking about. Miss Berker said, ‘Will someone give him a Chinese burn?’ and it got out of hand. Miss Berker got really emotional and called one pupil a ‘little s***’ straight to his face.”
Mr Sim read out another statement that said: “One pupil stabbed him with a pencil after he gave him a Chinese burn.”
The boy who was stabbed said: “She told me to give him a Chinese burn. He stabbed with with a pencil and I started bleeding.”
Ms Berker told the hearing yesterday (thu) the reference to a Chinese burn was a “pure throwaway remark” and in hindsight it was “ill advised”.
She added: “I should’ve said, ‘Would someone explain to him why his behaviour is inappropriate.”
Ms Berker, a drama teacher at Mackie Academy for over 20 years, claims that the statement was made in jest and was not to be taken seriously or was ever intended to be an instruction or an order.
She added: “It is interesting to note that not one of them said what I said. They all could of got together and colluded.
“I will maintain what I said until my dying day. It was ill-judged. It was a throwaway remark that was made in jest. I was not trying to invoke or promote violence.”
Both of the pupils were kicked out of the class and upon their reentry Ms Berker noticed that one was bleeding. The pupils statements claim Ms Berker then got frustrated, raised her voice and called one of the pupils “a little shit”.
Ms Berker said: “I struggled for vocabulary. I said to him ‘your attitude is s***’. I
maintain I never called any pupil a little s***.”
Ms Berker appeared on Stars in Their Eyes in series 14, in 2002, as Mama Cass of 60s group The Mamas & the Papas but did not progress from her heat.
The hearing continues.