Teacher who punished pupil by making him "sit in his underwear" faces being struck off his job permanently
A school teacher faces being struck off after he allegedly punished a student by making him "sit in his underwear" for speaking out of turn in class. The youngster was allegedly left "embarrassed and upset" by Terence Anthony, a primary three teacher, after he told the boy to "freeze" without his pants just before a PE class. Other allegations against the teacher have now emerged, including one incident where he lifted an autistic pupil "off the ground by her wrist".
At the time of these incidents in 2015, Anthony, who has now retired, was working at Gylemuir Primary in Edinburgh. The accusations led to his suspension from the school shortly after. However, during a hearing conducted by The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) this week, Anthony denied the claims against him.
The allegations are as follows: "On 16 November 2015, whilst employed by Edinburgh City Council at School A, you did make physical contact with Pupil A, forcibly move her by her shoulders, lift her from a table and thereafter attempted to lift her off the ground by her wrist which caused said pupil distress. In or around September 2015 whilst employed as a teacher by Edinburgh City Council at School A you did insist that Pupil B sit in his underwear as punishment for speaking which caused the pupil to become embarrassed and upset."
According to the educator, the alleged underwear incident with the boy occurred when he was waiting on his class to get ready for a PE lesson. Anthony said he was "not aware of the boy as an individual” as he was concentrating on the entire class and pushing them to get ready as soon as possible. He said he shouted "freeze" in order to quieten the class as the noise was getting louder than usual. “I had no focus on Pupil B at all. I could not tell if he was sitting or standing up,” he said.
According to him, it was possible that the child could have been sitting down just as easily when he told the class to "freeze". Anthony said: “He was in no different position to a number of other children.” The instruction used by the schoolteacher was a common one, he said, and used in schools across the country. That said, the mother of the girl who was lifted inappropriately was also present at the hearing, which took place on Monday. She said she believed that “lifting would be the last resort" used by any supervisor and also complained she had not been made aware of the shoulder incident.
The child was allegedly sitting on a table during the incident and holding a chair in front of her, the court heard. Teaching assistant Laura Ritchie claimed that Anthony “was using his thumbs to prise her fingers off the back legs." She had reportedly worked with the child at the time.
However, Anthony denied the claims made against him in relation to the first pupil. The student was forcibly moved by her shoulders in order to remove her from sitting on the table, it is alleged. He said: “I do not think it is possible to lift someone by the shoulders. I simply slid her forward. There was no upward movement of her body.”
Having said that, The City of Edinburgh Council said it would be inappropriate to comment on the incident as the hearing was underway. However, the council said Anthony was no longer employed by them. As a final decision is pending on whether Anthony is fit to teach, the case at the GTCS has been adjourned until a later date, The Sun reports.