Teacher censured over 'dirty texts'

Last updated 13:59 09/06/2014

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A teacher has been censured after abusing his homestay student, including sending her offensive text messages.

In one instance, he asked: "How painful was d brazilian? U wil hv 2 show me wen u get home :=)".

The teacher, 61, was charged with serious misconduct for engaging in an "inappropriate relationship" with the student.

In a decision published today, the tribunal said the teacher was a senior member of staff at the public school, and director of the school's international exchange programme. Over the years, he and his wife had a number of homestay students.

During 2010 and 2011 two students, who were both German participants in the programme, lived in the teacher's home and later complained about him.

The school investigated the complaints and suspended the teacher on full pay. Following the investigation, the teacher was dismissed and the matter passed to the New Zealand Teachers Council.

The police were involved, but did not lay charges.

Because of the lack of evidence, apart from text messages concerning one of the students, the teacher could only be censured but not deregistered, the tribunal said.

Between October 2010 and April 2011, the teacher psychologically abused the 16-year-old student who was living with him, and "conducted himself in a way . . . that brings discredit to the profession", the decision said.

The tribunal said the student was "a vulnerable young woman with a background of psychological and emotional difficulties".

She lived in the teacher's house for three periods totaling several months, and the teacher and the student reportedly "became close".

A transcript of about 2000 texts showed they had conversations about sex, drinking, and intimate personal details.

The tribunal highlighted the following messages from the teacher as examples: "Am I ur sugar daddy?"; "How painful was d brazilian? U wil hv 2 show me wen u get home :=)"; "A talented beautiful person dat I shud have me 30 years ago x x. U r makn me think things I shudnt".

The student responded, but seemed aware that the conversations were inappropriate: "Hello old man ;) I got a new number. Please only text me ur sober."

The teacher told the tribunal he accepted some of his message were inappropriate, but denied the allegations made to police. He insisted the student was to blame for what had happened .

The tribunal disagreed.

"Frankly, for a teacher to text any school-aged child, but most especially a child who is living in his home and in respect of whom he is in the position of a parent, in the terms which the [teacher] did, including references to that student's genitalia, crosses the boundaries of appropriate conduct for a teacher and is unacceptable," the decision said.

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The tribunal said the teacher must be censured and the register annotated, so that any future employer would be aware of his background.

The decision suppressed the identities of those involved, and the name and location of the school.

- Stuff

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