Tuesday, August 16, 2022
In BriefTeacher struck off for interfering with police probe into "poofy jew jibe"...

Teacher struck off for interfering with police probe into “poofy jew jibe” colleague

A GEOGRAPHY teacher has been struck off for interfering with the police investigation into a colleague accused of slapping a pupil and calling him a “poofy jew”.

PE teacher Darren Marr is accused of the committing the attack and vile slur at Inveralmond Community High, Livingston, West Lothian.

But it has now emerged that Kathryn Horn, a geography teacher at the same school, has been banned from the classroom in connection with the same case.

The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) found that Ms Horn removed pupils from classes so she could ask them to provide defence statements on behalf of Mr Marr.

The headteacher of the school specifically told teachers not to make contact with Mr Marr while the investigation into his conduct was ongoing in late 2014 and early the following year.

The GTCS has released text messages which show that, while suspended, Mr Marr messaged Miss Horn asking her to speak to pupils to get them to help him with defence statements.

In one text he asked Miss Horn to mention all the “additional qualifications and opportunities” that would be on offer if he was to return to his role at the school.

Miss Horn responded to one text, writing: “I need another name. You really think [Pupil F] will keep her month (sic) shut?”

In other messages, Miss Horn used “derogatory and contemptuous” terms in relation to some of the pupils including “Yeah man hahaha lights are on but no one is home”, “What a wee sh**!” and “Nah he is written off. Loser!”

Mr Marr sent one text saying: “Just be careful you don’t get caught” before a response from Miss Horn reads: “I know man, wish it was thrilling! I’ve got cover stories ready.”

Darren Marr.

The GTCS revealed: “[Miss Horn] had been charged by police with attempting to pervert the course of justice although the panel recognised that Miss Horn had not been found guilty of any criminal offence.”

The allegations, which the GTCS panel found proved, state: “Between 12 November 2014 and 6 March 2015, whilst employed as a teacher with West Lothian Council at Inveralmond Community High School, you did contact Teacher 1 [Mr Marr], who was the subject of a police investigation following an incident involving a pupil on 12 November 2014, contrary to management instructions.

“As a result of that communication with Teacher 1, you did contact pupils who were involved in the said incident and interfere with the police investigation.

“And in light of the above, it is alleged that your fitness to teach is impaired and you are unfit to teach.”

Mr Marr – a teacher turned fitness guru – was accused of ‘slapping a student over the head’ and making anti semitic remarks, calling him a “poofy jews”, during a PE lesson on 12 November 2014.

He appeared at Livingston Sheriff Court in 2015 over the remarks and was found not guilty of assault.

The charge of racially aggravated conduct was not proven.

According to the GTCS report on Miss Horn, the headteacher was later contacted by police saying that someone was trying to “interfere” with their investigation and provided her with a mobile number for the culprit.

The headteacher called a meeting, where Miss Horn was present, asking for the person to come forward.

No one came forward at this opportunity but Miss Horn later contacted the teacher to admit it was her.

The headteacher claims Miss Horn admitted that she had discussed the incident with Mr Marr and that he had told her to remind the pupils what he had done for them.

Miss Horn then went on to admit that she had spoken to pupils on their own and in groups in an area of the school where she had no reason to be.

The headteacher later terminated Miss Horn’s supply contract.

In a statement provided to the GTCS, Miss Horn admitted contacting a number of pupils in relation to Mr Marr’s investigation but stated that it was “not her intention to interfere with that investigation”.

The GTCS last week decided to remove Miss Horn from the teaching register following a four day hearing in Edinburgh.

On making their decision, they said: “Miss Horn had not maintained appropriate professional boundaries with pupils by speaking to them in relation to Teacher 1 [Mr Marr] and had abused a position of trust with them.

“She had involved herself in a situation which potentially may have breached the criminal law.”

They added: “The language of the text messages suggested an intention to disguise what she was doing had her contact with pupils been detected earlier.

“Her language regarding pupils within the text messages was at times unkind and contemptuous.”

“The Panel concluded that there was a shallowness to Miss Horn’s acceptance of responsibility.

“Accordingly, the panel determined that Miss Horn falls significantly short of the standards expected of a registered teacher and that she is therefore unfit to teach.”

Mr Marr, at his hearing, admitted making physical contact with the boy and contacting a member of staff while suspended to ask them to contact pupils on his behalf regarding the incident.

But he denies slapping the boy and using anti semitic and homophobic language. The decision of the GTCS in the case is awaited.

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