False allegations: ‘Every teacher’s worst nightmare’
New figures obtained by the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act show that the majority of accusations made against teachers and teaching assistants by pupils in Wales over the last five years turned out to be false. But the damage done to a teacher’s health and career remains, says one teaching union. Read more and share your views .
Last year we reported on research revealing that almost a third of teachers have had a false allegation made against them. Now BBC Wales has reported that 55% of 312 allegations made by pupils in Wales were later dropped.
“A total of 103 cases were investigated by police and two teachers or assistants were convicted of a crime,” says the BBC. “Of those facing accusations, 121 were suspended while the allegations were being investigated.”
And both the NUT and the NASUWT say the problem could be bigger than the figures suggest, the BBC reports.
‘No “innocent until proven guilty”’
Rex Phillips, NASUWT Wales Organiser, said: “This is a matter of extreme concern for us and I know it’s something that teachers are worried about.
“It’s every teacher’s worst nightmare to have a false allegation made against them. Their reputation is damaged and they often find it hard to go back to work, even though they’ve been completely exonerated.
“We just want teachers to be treated fairly. Once an allegation is made, a teacher is often suspended immediately with scant regard paid to the credibility of the accusation.
“There is no ‘innocent until proven guilty’.
“We would like a system where pupils can’t make false allegations with impunity.
“The police can issue a caution to the individual but I’m only aware of one case where this happened. I think it would send out a message to others that this will not be tolerated.”
Creating a culture of respect
Quoted by the BBC, Children’s Commissioner for Wales Keith Towler said: “Classrooms should be safe places for both teachers and pupils.
“What we need to be doing is fostering a culture of respect between teachers and their pupils instead of pitching them against each other.”
Have you been falsely accused? What can be done to protect both pupils and teaching staff? Share your views…