Teacher sacked over sex claim

KIRSTY JOHNSTON
Last updated 08:53 20/09/2012

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A teacher has been sacked for allegedly making sexual advances towards two overseas students staying at his home, where he was their "host dad".

The man also sent the teenage girls inappropriate text messages and was later found to have downloaded pornography onto his school laptop.

However, his name and the name of the school where he was Director of International Students have been kept secret by the Employment Relations Authority as it decides whether the dismissal was justified.

Documents from the authority showed the man and his wife had hosted a number of overseas students on their farm, which is in an area where there is only one large high school.

At the time the complaints were made in May 2011, there were three girls staying with the family.

Two of the girls told the school's principal the man - a teacher with more than 20 years' experience - had behaved improperly towards them. The man was suspended on full pay pending an investigation.

For undisclosed reasons, the investigation took more than a year for an outside investigator to complete. After a report was made to the Board of Trustees, which showed the man had behaved inappropriately, sent texts of a sexual nature and downloaded the pornography,  the teacher was dismissed in June this year.

The authority's documents showed the man had since applied for interim reinstatement while his claim for full reinstatement and compensation for lost wages, loss of dignity, humiliation and stress caused by unjustifiable dismissal was assessed. He had denied all the allegations, and said they should not affect his teaching position in any case, as they occurred outside the school.

The school board resisted reinstatement. It felt the man was a risk to students. He had also gone against the principal's wishes and contacted the students and their families when asked not to.

The man's application for interim reinstatement was denied by the authority. A full hearing to discuss the man's claim of unjustifiable dismissal and its related issues will be held in November.

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