Alcoholic teacher stays in classroom despite driving accident while five times over limit

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A TEACHER has avoided being struck off and granted anonymity – despite driving while more than five times over the limit.

The unnamed woman was fined and banned from driving in 2016 after being involved in a road accident.

She was found to have 114 microgrammes of alcohol per 100ml of breath when the legal limit is 22 microgrammes.

She appeared before a panel at the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) on November 21 2017 where she was granted anonymity to aid her recovery from alcoholism.

In their written decision on the case, the GTCS found her fitness to teach was impaired but still decided to allow her to stay on the teaching register provided she provides evidence that she has regularly been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

The GTCS has not disclosed any information about where in Scotland the woman teaches.

The allegation faced was that she was convicted of a contravention of Road Traffic Act 1988, Section 5(1)(a) – drink driving – on an undisclosed date in 2016.

The panel heard that the teacher pled guilty to the offence and was disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for 16 months and fined £400.

However they decided that she should not be struck off and instead would be made the subject of a Conditional Registration Order and Reprimand for a period of two years.

As well as having to attend the meetings she also must provide written reports from her GP which confirm that she is participating in and responding positively to alcohol rehabilitation, and a regular report from her employer that there have been no concerns relating to any misuse of alcohol.

Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr has questioned the decision, suggesting that it is too lenient.

He said: “Driving when this intoxicated is a serious crime and we therefore have to question the judgement of this teacher and her fitness to teach.

“Despite the conditions that she is legally obliged to fulfil, this does seem as though she has got off lightly.

“Others who have lost their jobs and suffered serious financial hardship as a result of a drink-driving conviction will wonder if this is fair.”

Joshua Harris, Director of Campaigns at road safety charity Brake, highlighted the seriousness of the offence of drink driving.

He said: “Drivers who get behind the wheel after drinking knowingly put the lives of others at risk and should expect to face serious consequences for their actions.

“Drinking even a small amount of alcohol before driving increases your risk of crashing and killing or seriously injuring someone and that is why Brake is calling for the introduction of a zero-tolerance limit of 20mg per 100ml of blood.”

A spokeswoman for the GTCS today (fri) said: “Our Fitness to Teach framework is about public protection and maintaining teaching standards. It is not there to punish teachers.

“Our Fitness to Teach Panels assess fitness to teach by considering the shortfalls identified alongside what the teacher has done to openly and honestly reflect on the issues, learn from them and make changes to ensure they will not happen again.

“Each fitness to teach case is assessed individually and we do not comment on individual cases.”

 
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