A teacher is facing the sack after he pushed a 12-year-old out of ‘pure frustration’ when the boy spat at him and hit him in the face with snowballs. This is from the Daily Mail…
Dean Macfarlane admitted that he had knocked the boy into a hedge but said that it came after 18 months of antisocial behaviour outside his house in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.
The problems for the IT teacher started in 2011 and since then the youths have gone into his garden, climbed on cars and garage roofs, damaged vehicles, and used tennis racquets to hit stones at people’s property.
The situation reached boiling point in February when the 55-year-old said he confronted two boys who had hit him in the face with snowballs.
He reacted by pushing a 12-year-old boy, who spat on the ground in front of him, into a hedge.
Macfarlane ended up at Barnsley Magistrates’ Court last Tuesday, where he admitted assault and was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid community work.
He is now waiting to hear from the regulatory body, The National College for Teaching and Leadership, as to whether he can keep his job of 34 years.
But pupils and staff at the Doncaster school where he works have reacted with a flood of support for the well-respected teacher.
Following the court hearing, Macfarlane said the incident had resulted from ‘pure frustration’ last February, when he momentarily lost his temper after confronting two boys who had been snowballing him.
He said: ‘For three days the house had been pelted with snowballs, covering all of the windows.
‘On the day in question I was getting changed and heard “thud, thud, thud”. I ran to the front door and saw the car had about eight snowballs splattered on it.
“I looked over the fence and saw a group of about seven lads, all aged 12 or 13m who gave me a load of verbal abuse and then set off running.
‘A couple of them threw snowballs at me and I was hit in the face and body.’
At the time he shrugged off the attack, but 15 minutes later he went out and saw two of the youths who had thrown the snowballs and warned them to stay away from his house.
He said: ‘The smaller of the two boys said, “It wasn’t me, I wasn’t there” and I told him I had just seen him as he was less than five feet away from me.
‘Then the other boy spat on the floor in front of me. It escalated from there and pure frustration took over. I pushed the lad and he went into a hedge.
‘It was completely out of character for me. I did not go with the intention of hunting down these lads and I wasn’t aggressive, but did end up pushing one of them which I am sorry about.
‘It was the wrong course of action to take.’
The former art and design teacher said: ‘I’ve been a teacher for more than 30 years and this error of judgement has put my job under threat.
‘It is all hanging up in the air and I’ve now got to wait to see if I can go back to work in September.’
A Department for Education spokesman said: ‘The National College of Teaching and Leadership receive notice of police cautions and convictions given to teachers.
‘If it is decided a case should proceed to a formal hearing before a teacher misconduct panel, our aim is to conclude all cases within 20 weeks of receiving the referral, but this can take longer in some cases.’
Are the levels of self-restraint now required of teachers beyond what, at times, is humanly possibly? Is it not reasonable to expect – and allow – that occasionally people will snap when severely provoked or should it immediately disqualify someone from the profession, even if there is no injury caused? Please tell us what you think in the comments or on twitter…