“Whistleblowing” primary teacher struck off after sending threatening emails to colleagues

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A PRIMARY school teacher has been struck off after he tried to “whistleblow” over an alleged assault on a pupil.

John Campbell was accused of sending “threatening” emails regarding an alleged assault on a pupil at Moorfoot Primary School, in Gourock, Inverclyde.

Mr Campbell also contacted local councillors to make them aware of “potential child abuse” at the school.

The teacher even went so far as to approach an Inverclyde councillor at home over the alleged child-protection concerns.

However, a “thorough investigation” was carried out by Inverclyde Council into the child-protection allegations made by the teacher and found “no substance to them”.

The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) also found no evidence regarding this and removed Mr Campbell from the teaching register – due to his “unprofessional” conduct.

They added that they found the content of the emails he sent to colleagues and councillors as “unprofessional, disrespectful, harassing and threatening”.

Mr Campbell, who did not attend the GTCS hearing in June and July this year, took up his position at Moorfoot Primary in 2008.

However, in December 2014 Mr Campbell sent an email to ‘Recipient 1’ which read: “Can you also confirm if the alleged assault of a pupil which was discussed in the Moorfoot staff room was investigated within the robust child protection procedures?

“I would expect to hear from you by noon Friday 5 December on the specific point about passing my concerns to Police Scotland for investigation.

“Should I not hear from you by that time it is likely that I will act on the advice given and make a statement to the police.”

John Campbell was accused of sending “threatening” emails regarding an alleged assault on a pupil at Moorfoot Primary School, in Gourock, Inverclyde.

In another allegation, Mr Campbell was accused of breaching the council’s code of conduct by making allegations against another member of staff.

Mr Campbell sent a series of emails regarding the issue, and on February 11, 2015 he visited a local councillor’s home.

At an investigatory meeting in 2016, Mr Campbell said this was because “he considered the councillor was the only person to treat his concerns about the issues at Moorfoot Primary School seriously”.

Mr Campbell also said that he had tried to raise the issue with management, but “no action was taken by them”.

Five days after he was told that he would be moved to another school, Mr Campbell sent an email titled “Serious issues at Moorfoot Primary School”.

Mr Campbell’s said the purpose of the email was “to make the elected members aware of potential child abuse within Moorfoot Primary School”.

In a written response to the allegations made against him, Mr Campbell told the GTCS: “My defence of the allegations made against me shows professionalism, sound judgement, courage and determination on my part in the face of quite astonishing levels of targeted bullying and harassment by individuals employed by Inverclyde Council.”

Eight out of 10 of the allegations against Mr Campbell at the GTCS were found proved.

Concluding the hearing, the GTCS removed Mr Campbell from the teaching register.

Explaining their decision, they wrote: “The panel observed that a teacher within a professional context is someone who is required to take direction from management.

“In this case, the teacher had ignored direction and instruction. Further, the teacher had acted outwith his employer’s guidance and rules contained within codes of conduct.

“The panel further observed that the manner in which the teacher had acted had impacted upon how he as a teacher and how the teaching profession would be viewed by the public.

“It appeared to the panel that the local situation at his school had been a difficult one. That difficult situation had been made worse by the teacher’s belligerence.”

The panel also explained that Mr Campbell being moved schools was not a “punitive” and that the response from the council was “proportionate and reasonable”.

Concluding their decision, the panel wrote: “The panel found that the teacher had not demonstrated any insight into his behaviour, had not demonstrated any remorse nor had he demonstrated any remediation.

“There had been no contact from the teacher for a considerable time. He had not engaged in the fitness to teach process recently.

“Accordingly, the panel found that the teacher’s conduct was likely to remain the same as it had been and accordingly found that the teacher is currently unfit to teach.”

A spokesman for the council said: “The child protection allegations made by Mr Campbell were thoroughly investigated and found to have no substance to them.

“There is no connection between them and the action taken by the council. Reporting allegations or whistle blowing was not then and would never be considered a breach of the council’s code of conduct for employees.

“Mr Campbell’s behaviour towards his colleagues was considered to have breached the council’s code of conduct.

“It was because of this that the council took appropriate disciplinary action.”

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