A KIRKLEES College teacher who claims she was unfairly dismissed for striking a student thought she had done nothing wrong a tribunal heard.
Stephanie Crossley was dismissed from her position last year after she hit a female student on the leg in an effort to get the young woman to keep quiet.
The tribunal heard that IT teacher Miss Crossley, 57, thought she smelled smoke and wanted 20-year-old Sabia Sajid to stop talking while she tried to discover the source of the smell.
It was later concluded that there was danger of fire, but the teacher believed her actions were justified and that her subsequent loss of employment was unfair.
The employment tribunal, held in Leeds yesterday, heard from Charles Toker, head of curriculum at the college who investigated the incident concerning Miss Crossley on January 27 last year.
He told the tribunal the reason she was ultimately dismissed from her position was not just because of the act, but because she didn’t appear to see anything wrong in what she had done and he feared in the same position she might do it again.
Mr Toker said: “Not only saying she did it and it was appropriate, but that we couldn’t be sure she wouldn’t do to again.
“An intentional, forceful, physical act and this act was physical violence.’’
He added that she had not apologised and not expressed remorse or explained her actions.
Had she said she would never do it again he “could have treated the situation differently’’.
He added: “I felt it was appropriate to refer the matter for a disciplinary hearing and tell the complainant the incident was so serious it could end in dismissal.’’
The tribunal also heard that Miss Crossley allegedly didn’t get on with the student in question and thought she was ‘mouthy.’
Mr Toker added: “In addition she hit a student who she said had verbal diarrhoea, who was gobby, mouthy and she didn’t like. She was aware of Sabia and just wanted her to shut up.
“She just wanted her to shut up so she could listen to her phone call.
“Sabia said that because of this she didn’t want to be in a room alone with Steff and didn’t want to be taught by her.
“In my opinion it is absolutely forbidden to use physical violence against a pupil.’’
Jenni Watson, representing Miss Crossley, said: “A teacher had a right to physically intervene in a situation when there is a need to prevent disruption of compromises to order and discipline.’’
Mr Toker disagreed the point and said the situation should not have happened.
He added that he felt the situation was serious enough to warrant a case of gross misconduct which can carry the possibility of dismissal without notice, as happened in this case.
The tribunal continues.