Thursday 18 July 2019

Teacher who Sellotaped up pupils' mouths is struck off

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Anne-Marie Walsh

A teacher has been struck off after being found guilty of taping up five primary schoolgirls' mouths with Sellotape.

Following the first public fitness-to-practise inquiry for teachers, the Teaching Council decided to remove her name from the professional register.

In a statement issued yesterday, the council said a panel of its disciplinary committee took the decision.

It found the teacher, who is not named, guilty of professional misconduct for "applying Sellotape and/or causing it to be applied" to the mouths of five students.

She has been struck off following an incident six years ago in which the sticky tape was allegedly put on the girls' mouths at an unnamed primary school, when they would not stop talking.

The teacher's removal from the professional register means she cannot work in a State-funded position.

She is not eligible to apply to be restored to the register for a year. The council's decision was confirmed by the High Court last August.

It said the incident took place around March 7, 2012.

The teacher, who was not present at a disciplinary hearing into the allegations last year, disputed the claims. She claimed the children taped their own mouths.

During the inquiry on November 8 last, the five schoolgirls said their mouths were taped shut by a substitute teacher in fifth class when they did not stop talking.

"I was scared and shocked," said one of the girls as she recalled the incident.

The girls, who were between 15 and 16 at the time of the inquiry, said there were six boys and five girls in a maths class.

They admitted that all the pupils were talking and messing and that they did not stop talking despite the teacher telling them to "whist" a number of times.

They said the substitute teacher, who had started at the school two days previously, said she would Sellotape their mouths if they didn't stop.

"She could not control the class. We kept talking," said a student.

The inquiry heard that one pupil refused to tape their mouth and it was alleged that the teacher taped the child's mouth and another pupil's.

It was claimed that she instructed the other three girls to put Sellotape on their own mouths. It remained on the girls' mouths for up to 30 minutes until the class ended.

According to the school principal, pupils were crying and had red marks on their faces.

Last August, Ms Justice Mary Faherty ruled the teacher was properly removed from the council's register.

She said the woman, who was in the early stages of her career, denied the allegations but had not appealed the council's decision.

The judge said the council was correct in disregarding information conveyed to it last year by an unknown female telephone caller.

She said the caller alleged she overheard five teenage girls talk about how they had lied and co-ordinated their stories in a cafe.

A council spokesperson said the disciplinary panel decides whether to name the teacher.

Irish Independent

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