And he was registered

I sometimes wonder if the teaching profession might avoid their long parade of sickos before the courts and the Teacher’s Council is they simply recruited Catholic priests.

Another registered teacher has been preying on his students.

The teacher unions main opposition to charter schools along with the Labour party is that there is no recommendation for teachers to be registered, supposedly it is to protect the kids.

Registration certainly worked well in protecting two teenagers from this sicko.

A maths teacher sacked for inappropriate relationships with female students has continued to contact one of the girls over Facebook.

Former Ashburton College teacher Michael Burrell-Smith had his teaching registration cancelled for his behaviour toward two 16-year-olds before he left in April 2013.

Just-released New Zealand Teachers’ Council disciplinary tribunal findings said the girls suffered emotionally from their dealings with Burrell-Smith, who was then a 24-year-old maths teacher.

His “serious misconduct” included late-night conversations and telling one of the girls, whose names are suppressed, that he loved her and she was “gorgeous”, the tribunal found.

According to his Facebook profile, Burrell-Smith now lives in Canada. Yet he has continued to contact one of the complainants.

The girl, now 17, said Burrell-Smith sent her a private Facebook message last week.

She replied and told him he should not be contacting her and to leave her alone. He sent a long message back saying he still had feelings for her, she said.

She felt he blamed her for losing his job at the college and, later, another job at Mt Hutt Ski Area.

The skifield dismissed Burrell-Smith after learning of the allegations.

“He pretty much pinned it down on me and said it was my fault at the end of the day,” she said.

Typical coward, blaming the victim.

A teachers’ council spokeswoman said deregistration was the maximum penalty the tribunal could impose. A teacher contacting former pupils in these circumstances was “completely inappropriate”, she said.

According to the tribunal, Burrell-Smith had ignored warnings about his dealings with pupils.

Principal Grant McMillan met with him in October 2012 to remind him of his professional obligations.

On February 17 last year, a relationship developed between Burrell-Smith and a pupil, Student A, after she made a prank call to him.

The two had a series of long conversations. He made comments about her “being pretty and cute” and in a Facebook message told her, “I want to hug you now”.

Her parents complained to the college in April, raising concerns about Burrell-Smith sending their daughter a card for her 16th birthday and entries in her diary about him.

A parent of a pupil, Student B, approached the college alleging he frequently spoke with her, which caused behavioural changes.

Communication between the two showed Burrell-Smith told the 16-year-old: “It was so hard when I last saw you. I felt that I couldn’t say what I wanted cos ppl were there. I am sorry! You do know how much I miss and love you though ey!!”

Student B replied: “Hmm I know we are good friends but I’m still a student :P just keep it professional ha ha ha and awhh yeah i know and trust it comes out right in person.”

Burrell-Smith admitted wrongdoing and that his relationship with Student A arose out of feelings of unhappiness after the end of a long-term relationship. He saw himself as providing the pupil with support when she was at risk of self-harm.

What a creep.


– Fairfax

Do you want:

  • ad-free access?
  • access to our very popular daily crossword?
  • access to Incite Politics magazine articles?

Silver subscriptions and above go in the draw to win a $500 prize to be drawn at the end of March.

Not yet one of our awesome subscribers? Click Here and join us.

As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.