A TEACHER at a Huddersfield school who touched pupils and called a girl “sexy’’ can still work in the classroom.
Nigel Collins, who worked at Fartown High School, has escaped suspension at a disciplinary tribunal but has been given a reprimand.
Mr Collins was accused of acting in an “inappropriate physical manner” during his time at Fartown.
He was said to have touched other pupils and physically got very close to them – so much so they labelled him “creepy”.
The General Teaching Council’s Professional Conduct Committee found that Collins exposed pupils at the school to inappropriate material.
In a lesson on January 20, 2009, they were directed to a computer file which included the statement “police are gay, ***king big d***s”.
The Committee found him guilty of unacceptable professional conduct, but decided to impose a reprimand rather than a more severe penalty, which would involve his suspension from teaching.
Committee chairman Misbah Mann, said that Collins was employed at the school between September 1997 and February 2009, and that in January 2008 he “acted in an inappropriate manner’’ towards a pupil by calling her “sexy’’ and suggesting visiting her home to collect rabbit droppings.
She said that in January 2009 he acted in an inappropriate physical manner towards several pupils, by touching them and/or getting inappropriately close to them.
On another day, he grabbed hold of a girl pupil, named only as Pupil B, inside a classroom.
He grabbed her shoulders causing some of her hair to come out and redness to her arm.
Ms Mann said that he also breached his suspension from the school on January 22, 2009, by remotely accessing the school computer system.
She added: “It can never be appropriate to call a pupil ‘sexy’.
“The context in which Mr Collins suggested visiting the pupil at home was clearly inappropriate.
“The pupils refer to Mr Collins’ behaviour as ‘creepy’ and feeling ‘uncomfortable’. That clearly suggests that the manner in which Mr Collins behaved was inappropriate.
“Mr Collins in his statement admitted that the computer file contained inappropriate language and it is self evident that such language is not appropriate in a school.
“Mr Collins was guilty of unacceptable professional conduct because his conduct fell short of the standard expected of a registered teacher and was behaviour which involved a breach of the standards of propriety expected of the profession.
“His actions breached the Code of Conduct and Practice for Registered Teachers. Specifically he failed to put the wellbeing, development and progress of children and young people first by failing to establish and maintain appropriate professional boundaries in his relationships with young people.”
But she said that the computer file incident did not constitute unacceptable professional conduct, adding: “Whilst the incident was regrettable we are not convinced on the basis of the available evidence that the behaviour was deliberate, it appears to have been a one-off incident and could have been a genuine mistake.”
Setting the punishment, she added: “We have had regard to protecting members of the public, specifically pupils, the maintenance of public confidence in the profession and declaring and upholding proper standards of conduct and competence.
“We have sought to approach the issue bearing in mind the principle of proportionality.
“We have concluded that a reprimand is appropriate.
“We did consider whether a more stringent sanction was appropriate given that the allegations relate to behaviour that was clearly inappropriate for a registered teacher.
“However there is evidence of insight and a genuine expression of regret.”
The reprimand will remain for two years and if Mr Collins lands in further trouble it could be used in disciplinary measures.
Mr Collins has a right of appeal to the High Court within 28 days.
Fartown High School referred inquiries over the case to Kirklees Council.
A council spokesman said Mr Collins had not worked at the school since 2009 and did not work at any other school in the area.