'Dodgy' teachers to lose anonymity

JO MOIR
Last updated 05:00 22/03/2014

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Teachers accused of dodgy behaviour will no longer be able to hide behind name suppression.

The Teachers Council has announced that, from July 1, all disciplinary hearings for teachers charged with serious misconduct will be opened up to the public and media.

The names of teachers will also be included in decisions published by the tribunal.

The changes were part of an effort to improve transparency and ensure "rigorous and robust" processes, Teachers Council director Peter Lind said.

Under the new rules, offending teachers would be accountable for their actions, and schools and early childhood centres would be safer for all children.

The tribunal will still have the power to close some parts of hearings and suppress names in order to protect young victims. The new rules also ensure children under 16 will not be named.

Secondary Schools Principals' Association president Tom Parsons said that, provided teachers were still treated as innocent until proven guilty, the changes were a step in the right direction.

Teachers were no different to the public and they should fall under the same rules, but it would be difficult for a teacher found innocent of paedophilia ever to clear their names completely, he said.

"But as long as somebody entering the profession is aware of what the requirements are, then I guess they can't argue with it."

Post-Primary Teachers Association president Angela Roberts said teachers wanted kids to be safe and wanted to know their colleagues were the right people for the profession - so the changes could only strengthen the disciplinary process.

The changes reflected the good work being done by the Teachers Council in tightening up discipline and competence, she said.

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- The Dominion Post

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