Ireland's first fitness to teach inquiry accuses teacher of putting sellotape over pupil's mouth

Ireland's first fitness to teach inquiry accuses teacher of putting sellotape over pupil's mouth

A new system of regulating teaching practises had it's first public case today.

An inquiry into a teacher's fitness to practice in an Irish school has been held for the first time in the history of the country today.

The public hearing was held in the Teaching Council headquarters in Maynooth, Co. Kildare this afternoon, with the teacher in question not in attendance. Although the teacher wasn’t obliged to attend, she stated that she wouldn’t be able for the ‘rigours of the hearing’ due to a medical condition.

While the hearing is being held in public, neither the teachers identity or the name of the school are being named.
It is alleged that the teacher at the center of the allegations is accused of covering the mouths of five fifth class students with sellotape in March 2012. When one pupil refused to do so, it is alleged that the teacher taped the mouth of that child and one other herself.

The report presented at the inquiry details how the pupils in question were messing and talking in class which frustrated the teacher. The teacher then held up the roll of sellotape and threatened to cover their mouths with it if they didn’t be quiet.

The pupils brought the issue to the school principal. The principal noted that two of the pupils were crying and had red marks all on their face.

When the principal confronted the teacher at the time, she didn’t deny it and claimed she was “only messing”.

Now, the teacher denies having placed the sellotape on any of the pupil’s mouths, claiming they did so themselves and that she made them take it off straight away.

Since the ‘Fitness to Practice’ legislation took effect last July, the Teaching Council has received around 50 complaints.

Grounds for complaint include misconduct, poor performance and medical unfitness. Only the most serious cases will proceed to a full hearing.

Hearings will be similar to those heard against doctors under the Medical Council. In most cases children are likely to be key witnesses.

If findings are made against the teacher in this case, sanctions include temporary suspension or the permanent loss of the right to teach in a publicly funded school.