She repeatedly taped students to their chairs. And now her sacking has been called “harsh”.
The teacher, known as Mrs RT, allegedly used masking tape across at least three students’ laps to “secure” them “like a seatbelt”, and told two male students they couldn’t get up until they had finished their work.
The allegations came to light in November 2014, when a formal complaint was made from parents of a child in her class, Adelaide Now reports. A meeting was held with school officials in which Mrs RT said the tape was used “in a playful way” — but Mrs RT was sacked the week before Christmas last year for misconduct.
Mrs RT took the case to the Fair Work Commission, who acknowledged that the actions were deliberate, and that children were scared by it, saying: “the parents confirmed their concern that their son had been secured to a chair with masking tape and that Ms RT had taken similar actions relative to two other children”.
Commission senior deputy president Matthew O’Callaghan said Mrs RT’s behaviour was a breach of the school’s guidelines, but the sacking was too harsh because the school had allowed her to continue teaching after the allegations were made.
“I have concluded that the Mrs RT’s summary dismissal was harsh in that, while her conduct provided a valid reason for the termination of her employment, the school’s decision to permit her to continue to teach after the allegations against her were made was inconsistent with that summary dismissal,” O’Callaghan said.
“Had the dismissal been with notice, I may have arrived at a different conclusion.”
ABC News reports that Glen Seidal, Independent Education Union of Australia SA secretary, has agreed that the ruling was too harsh.
“Once somebody has been dismissed, if they go on that blacklist, they will never get a job anyway, no matter what the teacher’s registration board says or what the commission says,” Seidal said.
She had an unblemished teaching career spanning 20 years at the time the allegations were made, Adelaide Now reports.