Teacher banned from seeing own daughter coming to teach yours

Ok, that’s a slightly misleading headline – I only have so much space to work with.  But the essential problem remains:  the Family Court has ordered supervised visits only.  If you can’t even trust mum with her own child, how do parents feel about her teaching theirs?

Anna Leask explains

The woman is due to graduate with a teaching degree at the end of the year, and intends to work as a classroom teacher.

However, because of a Family Court order prohibiting unsupervised contact with her daughter, concerns have been raised about the appropriateness of her working as a teacher.

Family Court rules prevent the publication of information that could identify the parties involved in the case – including the woman’s name, where she is studying and the schools where she has undertaken work experience as part of her teacher training.

I understand we don’t want her hung, drawn and quartered.  Family Court battles can get very ugly.  But what I’m interested in is the Teachers Council process in cases like this.  It seems whatever University she attended was happy enough to take her money and to inflict her on a number of schools for multi-week Placements.  

People who know the woman recently emailed the Ministry of Education, Teacher’s Council and the university where she is enrolled about the situation.

They told the Weekend Herald it was highly alarming that she could be allowed to teach.

“We strongly believe this is now a matter of safety, and not morally right for [the woman] to have access to children, especially not in an authority position,” they wrote.

“We are urging everyone not to allow her to take such a role as a teacher.”

The university concerned refused to answer questions about the woman.

“The university says it doesn’t discuss individual students publicly, but if it does become aware of any issues, the university raises them with the New Zealand Teachers Council.”

Surely the whole process of becoming a teacher isn’t just an academic one?  Why hasn’t the University dealt with this?  Too hard basket?  Just in it for the money?  Hand the hot potato to the Teachers Council?

Surely this is indicative of a systemic failure?

Council spokesman Peter Lind said before any teacher was granted registration, they needed to demonstrate they had been satisfactorily trained to teach, were likely to be a satisfactory teacher, were of good character as evidenced by a police check and were fit to be a teacher.

“Therefore, before [the woman] can be provisionally registered, she will need to demonstrate to the Teachers Council that she is of good character.

“The onus of proof rests with the applicant,” he said.

“Any graduate from a teacher education programme is required to apply for provisional registration before he or she can be employed in a teaching position in either a state, or integrated, or independent/private New Zealand school.”

A Ministry of Education spokeswoman said schools were expected to do appropriate background checks before employing staff.

“Our first priority is the safety of students,” she said.

I don’t know about you, but this seems to be a process of handing responsibility on.  The University takes the money – never mind this potentially unsuitable person has spent close to three months with other people’s children already as part of her course requirement.  Then the Teachers Council is made aware and they say “nothing we can do, she passes her course, she’s a teacher – it’s up to the school to decide if she is suitable.”

Wouldn’t the schools reasonably expect teacher training to not just cover academic suitability?

Why is the Teachers Council not taking responsibility when the community expresses concerns?  Aren’t they supposed to be the guardians of our children by sitting in judgement of the non-academic suitability of teachers?

Nice to  know the Principals and Board of Trustees are picking from candidates that are already known to be potentially unsuitable by the Teachers Council, but those candidates could conceivably pass the interview stage without disclosing relevant information.

Something is rotten here.  Who is going to stand up and put the children first?


Source:  That nice Anna Leask at the NZ Herald, with additional reporting by Cam Slater


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  • metalnwood

    Damn and to think that every single teacher in a charter school is going to be like this. scary……

    (sarcasm, just in case I need to say it)

  • Chancey

    family court is a corrupt and secretive institution, i would never make a value judgement on a family court ruling

    plenty of men would agree

    • Random66

      It does say it was people who actually know this woman that raised safety concerns regarding her placement with children. That is definitely a concern.

      • Chancey

        “Things soured last year after allegations by the former hus-band about the mother’s “inappropriate” behaviour towards their daughter.

        He claimed she upset the child by making negative comments about her former husband and his family, and discussing “adult issues” relating to marriage and property.”

        I know many many people battling through this, and being smeared with the adult issues thing – consider if your kids were thrust into this nasty situation and they come to ask you why dont you live in the house any more, or why has daddy got a new girlfriend

        In the context of the family court you are not allowed to address these issues at all, just leaving the children more alienated and confused.

        There is no burden of proof, as in a criminal court, just allegations and innuendo.

        A result from the family court often depends on who can hold their breath the longest and who has the deepest pockets.

        The people who know this person could be anybody

        • Toryboy

          Those men have only themselves to blame; they let their wives run riot – and then complain when it bites them in the bum.

          Men who don’t let their wives work, men who insist on a traditional household with his wife in a traditional role, never complain about the family court….. fancy that!

          • Chancey

            nope dont fancy that at all

          • Random66

            Aren’t you getting married today?

          • Toryboy

            No tomorrow, head off to the airport and Queenstown this afternoon – and then a nice honeymoon in the Southern Lakes area. Cannot wait!
            Oh – and before anyone gets their panties in a twist – the post above is me being facetious haha

          • Random66

            Sounds like it will be great. Good luck. Yes, I was wondering about your post and figured that something must be up because I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

    • PhantomsDoc

      For them to put this ruling in place for a woman she must be pretty f’n bad around her own children…let alone anybody else’s.

  • Toryboy

    What did she do? (that is so bad a court requires supervision to see her child)

    • Random66

      The most obvious would be abuse and neglect.

      • Toryboy

        The mind boggles if someone like that can get a teaching licence or registration.

    • nani

      The father claimed “she upset the child by making negative comments about her former husband and his family, and discussing “adult issues” relating to marriage and property.”

      He also said “the girl was at risk because of the mothers sub-optimal parenting”

  • Dick Brown

    Unfortunately, once you open Pandora’s Box of legislative confidentiality you have absolutely no control over how it is exercised.

    The only way I can see around this case is the formation of an Ombudsman with transferable powers of confidentiality; and that requires a law change in parliament.

  • Eiselmann

    Whatever this woman may have done , its simply not her fault , its society that’s to blame….I think a group hug is in order…once she has received some positive reinforcement and feels better about herself then the concerns regarding the safety of young people should go away.
    Maybe the teacher Unions could have a protest about the treatment one of their soon to be members is getting , there has to be a slot available in their protest schedule

  • peterwn

    In fairness to the person concerned, the order could have arisen from an extremely bitter attitude on one or both sides, and the ex-partner may also have spent much on lawyers to minimise ‘contact’ as much as possible. There could be nothing wrong with the person outside the context of the ex-relationship. The Teachers Council needs to make its own decision on this, not blindly follow a Family Court decision.

    • Eiselmann

      Well, in all seriousness you’e right of course , I daresay a number of readers of this blog have been maligned in family court and have been thru hell to clear their name , so it is possible this woman is simply a victim of a nasty court case and may indeed have done nothing untoward.
      Still with a family court order proventing unsupervised contact with her own daughter surely that issue needs to be cleared before being given access to other peoples kids…if the concerns are genuine then kids are put at risk when that should not be the cause ..all because decision makers are treating the issue as someone else’s problem.

  • Patrick

    My impression is traditionally the Family Court favours the mother, if that is the case then the alarm bells need to be ringing loud & clear about this woman.
    As an aside why isn’t there a process where those registering to take teaching degrees are assessed to see whether or not their application to be registered as a teacher would be successful. Otherwise the student has wasted years & thousands of dollars with the only winner being the University.

  • Rex Widerstrom

    As others have said, do not assume anything when it’s the Family Court. I’ve spent the last five years helping my almost teetotal (he has a drink on NYE), drug-free friend to try to gain custody of his daughter from her meth-addicted mother – a mother who has openly told the court-appointed psych that yes, she’d like her five children to four different fathers to live with her but “I love the drugs too much”.

    My friend owns his own business and employs his two hard working, well mannered sons, whom he raised as a single dad since they were 11.

    Nonetheless, every time she passed two consecutive urinalyses the mother was held to be “cured” and the girl was wrenched from her father back to her mother.

    Most recently, after several months of having his daughter live with him and hearing her crying for her mother almost every night (she’s six), my friend foolishly decided to take his daughter to see the mother. The mother stole his car keys, stole the girl, and (we found out later) went to her mother’s – a twice convicted drug dealer.

    Not only did the Family Court refuse to issue a Recovery Order, it cancelled my friend’s custody and handed the girl over to the drug dealer grandmother.
    And it imposed supervised access on the father, who now has to travel two hours each way once a fortnight for four hours with his daughter.

    Yes, he was foolish. But foolishness is hardly grounds for supervised access – especially since the mother is not seen as a danger to her children (other than inadvertently, when high, but rather simply as wholly neglectful, and the Court had allowed her to see her children with the drug dealing granny present!).

    So assume nothing about this woman’s suitability to teach from a Family Court ruling.

    • I(t is certainly a big ask to find anyone who holds a positive view of the Family Court and its Judiciary. And the Family Violence Court is just a self serving feminist mouthpiece as any male who has had dealings with it will attest.