PE teacher who slapped pupil before placing bowl over his head during lesson struck off
A PE teacher who hit a pupil before placing a bowl over his head during a lesson has been struck off.
Darren Marr, 32, slapped the boy during a PE lesson at Inveralmond Community High in Livingston, West Lothian, in 2014 after a row about noise in class.
He was also accused of calling the pupil a ‘poofy Jew’ but this was found not proven by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).
Marr appeared at Livingston Sheriff Court in 2015 over the remarks and was found not guilty of assault. The charge of racially aggravated conduct was also found not proven.
Last month Marr’s colleague Kathryn Horn, a geography teacher at the school, was struck off for interfering with the police probe into the case.
Miss Horn removed pupils from classes so she could ask them to provide defence statements on behalf of Marr.
The PE teacher was found guilty by the GTCS of making inappropriate contact with the pupil and ‘inciting’ fellow teachers to contact pupils on his behalf while suspended.
Following a hearing in Edinburgh, they found that he was unfit to teach and removed his name from the teaching register.
In a written ruling, the GTCS panel said: ‘The teacher had made inappropriate physical contact with Pupil A.
Whilst the panel accepted that this was not done with force, the contact was made repeatedly and was followed by placing a plastic bowl on a pupil’s head in front of his peers and to his upset.
‘The panel was of the view that this conduct would have humiliated and embarrassed him before his peers.
‘The panel considered that whilst the teacher was not directly responsible for the bullying to which Pupil A was subsequently exposed, it was clear that this had been as a direct consequence of complaining about the conduct at the hands of the teacher.
‘Further, the teacher had compounded matters by ignoring management instructions not to contact staff members which had put them in a difficult position and had exposed them to a risk of a potential disciplinary action being taken against them.
'The panel considered that the teacher’s conduct in inciting two fellow teachers to contact pupils (one of whom acted on that encouragement) was extremely serious as he did so being fully aware that a police investigation was ongoing.’
The GTCS released text messages which showed that, while suspended, Marr messaged Miss Horn asking her to speak to pupils to get them to help him with defence statements.
In one text he asked her to mention all the ‘additional coaching qualifications and opportunities’ that would be on offer if he were to return to his role at the school.
The panel heard that the boy suffered bullying as a result of making a complaint against Marr and subsequently left the school.
Donna McMaster, who was headteacher at the school at the time of the incident, told the panel Marr should have ‘known better’, adding: ‘It was inappropriate and unprofessional. Placing a bowl on the pupil’s head is not acceptable.’
In a statement made by Marr during an investigation at the time by West Lothian Council, he said the physical contact was a ‘gentle coax’.
But the pupil said he felt humiliated after the incident.
He added: ‘I said, ‘Go on, keep hitting me then’ and he slapped me a further four or five times.
He crouched down beside me and said: ‘Are you going to cry, big boy?’’ Marr cannot apply to be re-registered for six months.
My view: The PE teacher should have known better not to place a bowl on the student's head infront of his peers, even the gentle slap was inappropriate, if he had adhere to the school rules he'll still have his job.