Drunk teacher who hurled abuse at pupils struck off

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

A TEACHER who turned up to a Scots high school drunk and hurled abuse at pupils has been struck off.

At a hearing of the General Teaching Council Scotland (GTCS) today (fri) Eric Ralston was removed from the teachers’ register for calling one of his pupils a ‘twat’ and an ‘idiot.’

He also shouted at a colleague who asked whether he was fit to drive after he launched on a tirade which left his class in ‘stunned silence.’

He sped off after telling a deputy head teacher: “make clear your accusation or f*** off.”

After the incident at Hillhead High School in February 2010 58-year-old Ralston lost his job.

He did not attend and was not represented at the hearing in Edinburgh.

Some of Ralston’s pupils were called to the hearing to give evidence against their former teacher.

Earlier in the hearing, Thomas Gough, deputy head at the Glasgow school, said Ralston’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.”

One pupil, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the hearing: “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 GTCS said it had found three charges against Ralston proven and said it had received no response from Ralston.

One charge said he ‘[attended] work while under the influence of alcohol and not in a fit state to perform your duties as a teacher.’

Another charge read that he “used the words “twat” and “idiot” to describe [a pupil].”

He was further charged with shouting and using ‘inappropriate language’ towards Mr Gough.

The GTCS panel said: “The Sub-Committee decided to direct the Registrar to remove the [Ralston’s] name from the Register…

“The Sub-Committee was mindful of the potential risk of harm to the pupils and of its duty to uphold standards of behaviour within the teaching profession to ensure that public confidence in the teaching profession is maintained.”