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NewsScottish NewsDrunk teacher was "slurring his words" and shouted abuse at pupils

Drunk teacher was “slurring his words” and shouted abuse at pupils

Maths teacher shouted abuse at pupils and was "slurring his words" in class

A DRUNK teacher swore at staff and students before speeding off in his car, a disciplinary panel was told.

Eric Ralston is alleged to have had glazed eyes as he slurred his words, called children “pitiful scum” and “tw**”, told a deputy head to “f*** off”, and ignored questions about whether he was fit to drive.

The 58-year-old maths teacher is said to have caused mayhem at Hillhead High, in the upmarket West End of Glasgow, after a lunchtime drink.

One pupil secretly filmed Mr Ralston as he verbally abused and imitated pupils, and uploaded the footage to YouTube.

The hearing was also told that neither education officials nor teachers contacted the police to tell them of their concern that Mr Ralston may have been unfit to drive away from the school at the end of the day.

Mr Ralston, from Lanark, was sacked from his job by Glasgow City Council following the incident in February 2010, the hearing was told.

He was not present or represented this week when a  disciplinary panel of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) considered whether to strike him off the register.

Mr Ralston, who has not yet made any plea, faces charges of “attending work under the influence of alcohol”, “using inappropriate language” towards pupils, and “shouting at and using inappropriate language” towards a teacher, all on February 10, 2010.

Thomas Gough, the deputy head at Hillhead High, told the hearing in Edinburgh that the teacher’s “speech was slurred” and that “his eyes appeared glazed” when he turned up late for a maths class on the day in question.

Mr Gough said: “He started to chastise the boys in the class, he raised his voice and his manner was unusual.

“He leaned on the table and missed his hand, which to me, showed a lack of coordination. I had my suspicions at that point.”

Mr Gough told the hearing that he heard rumours that Mr Ralston had been drinking during his lunch break at a West End restaurant.

Mr Gough gave evidence that he later “smelled alcohol on his breath”.


The maths teacher was also missing from an earlier maths class, said Mr Gough

“A colleague, Harriet Campbell, went up to the classroom and Mr Ralston was not in the class.

“She waited in the class for several minutes. He then appeared and said he was looking for a pupil but the pupil was already in class.”

The deputy head said he asked Mr Ralston to meet him at the end of the school day but instead saw him heading towards the car park.

He told the hearing that he asked Mr Ralston: “Are you fit to drive?” After asking the question three times, he said Mr Ralston replied: “Make clear your accusation or f*** off.”

“He was loud and aggressive,” said Mr Gough. “I said we would have to speak about this in the morning and he said: ‘No we won’t.’

“Then I watched him drive away at speed.”

Mr Gough said he and his colleagues contacted Glasgow Council’s department of education for their advice on calling the police.

He said he was told by an official: “Well, it’s really your call. If police do stop him, he might have parked his car and have had a drink.”

Mr Gough admitted: “We didn’t call the police and were left feeling uneasy.”

When he got home, Mr Gough was told by the school’s head that footage of Mr Ralston in a class that day had been posted on YouTube.

“I saw the footage of Mr Ralston in an S4 class, prior to the last class. It was the first time I became aware of his issues that day. I was appalled,” he told the hearing.


The grainy clip from a mobile phone, which was viewed around 400 times before it was taken down, was played to the hearing.

In it, Mr Ralston can be heard shouting at the class, including the word “scum”. He can also be heard imitating, in a whiney voice, a student who answered  back.

Emma Gilpin, solicitor for the GTCS, asked one pupil why he thought Mr Ralston was drunk.

He replied: “I could tell straightaway he was drunk. You could smell him and he was fidgety.

“My mum’s a barmaid so I know the difference between drunk and sober,” he added.

Another pupil told how Mr Ralston’s “abuse” on the day left the class in “stunned silence”.

The boy told the hearing another pupil “liked to wind him up a bit and he just snapped”.

He added: “I vividly remember him putting her in a corner and calling her scum. He shouted: ‘You’re just scum, people like you are scum.’”

The pupil said that the class was “stunned silent” after Mr Ralston’s “abuse” in the class.

The hearing was adjourned until March.

Mr Ralston could not be contacted for comment.

Glasgow Council declined to comment on the decision of staff not to call police. A spokeswoman would only say: “This man is no longer a Glasgow City Council employee.  He was dismissed for gross misconduct.”



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