Maths teacher accused of telling sexual jokes to pupils in class


By Niamh Anderson

A  TEACHER made jokes about taking a pupil’s trousers down and rub him with baby oil, it has been claimed.

Kenneth Dickson had been working at Westray Junior High School in Orkney for just five weeks when concerns were raised about his conduct with pupils.

It is said he humiliated pupils by making sexual jokes in class and staring at the chests of his female students.

He also told a pupil that he would like a picture of her because she was “pretty”, it is claimed.

It was said female pupils in his class even decided to wear scarves because of his behaviour.

Dickson was suspended in October 2008 and was later sacked by Orkney Islands Council after an investigation found he posed a “potential serious risk” to youngsters.

The teacher, who now lives in Motherwell, believed he had been unfairly dismissed and took his case to an employment tribunal, but judges rejected his claims earlier this year.

He now faces being struck off.

Today (Thursday) his former pupils gave evidence before the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).

A 17-year-old boy who was in the maths teacher’s class said: “Mr Dickson called me out of a computer class and told me that our principal wanted to see me. He said he (the head teacher) wanted me to take my trousers down and my top off so that he could rub baby oil on me.

“He started laughing and said it was a joke, but I didn’t think it was funny. I was really annoyed with him and didn’t speak to him all day.

“A few months later, we were all in the stairwell on the way to a class and he said ‘if we don’t hurry up we will be having a gang-bang on the stairs’.”

An 18-year-old girl who was also taught maths and RE by Mr. Dickson said:

“As a teacher he was good but he used to stare at me a lot while I was working and I never understood why.

“One day he joked about stroking our principal’s nipples. As he made the joke, he was rubbing his own nipples.  I thought it was disgusting. All of the boys laughed but the girls were disgusted.

“During one of his classes, he started moving around making an action like he was having sex.

“After that, I asked if I could be moved out of Mr Dickson’s class because I didn’t like the things he was saying to us in class but I wasn’t moved. I was really annoyed about it.”

A 17-year-old described how Mr. Dickson was a laid back teacher with a good approach to teaching.

But two weeks after the maths teacher started teaching in the Orkney school, she said she began to feel uncomfortable about the jokes he made.

“I remember him picking on a boy in our class who was messing about on the floor. When Mr Dickson came in, he said ‘What will Mr. Forrester say when he sees you making love to the carpet? Stop having an orgasm’.

“I told him he couldn’t say that, but he laughed and said it was a joke.”

During an initial investigation, which was jointly carried out by police and the local authority, 10 children were interviewed at random.

They all gave similar reports which included the teacher telling them inappropriate jokes, the employment tribunal heard.

One pupil told officers that all of the girls in his class decided to wear scarves because of his behaviour, it was heard.

Another said: “The first week I thought his jokes were funny but by the second week his jokes started getting weird and I felt uncomfortable to be around him.”

Mr Dickson, who was 27 when he started working at the school, denied all the accusations and claimed the pupils were lying.

But the local authority sacked him in October 2009 after deciding it was “extremely unlikely” that the accounts of the children were false.

It was revealed at the employment tribunal that Mr Dickson thought there was a “conspiracy” against him.

Lawyers for the council claimed during the tribunal that the teacher had made “sexual and lewd” statements in front of children and had taken part in the “humiliation and demoralisation of a child”.

The hearing is due to conclude later this month.