Dodgy teacher didn’t quite get fully registered. This could be a good sign

Steven David Elms started teaching at Te Kuiti Primary School in 2014 but by the end of the first term it was perceived he was overfamiliar with the children, the New Zealand Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal says in a recent decision.

Elms was accused of tickling, hugging and playing bullrush with the students.

He was also accused of playing a game called “toilet”, which involved sitting children on his lap, and being overly familiar by massaging the shoulders of a female colleague without checking if it was OK first.

Staff noted his pants would sag, exposing his backside and was repeatedly told to pull his pants up.

Police investigated an incident, but didn’t lay charges, where it was alleged he picked up a student and touched their genitals.

The report says Elms did not like being directed or corrected and had suggested he was more experienced than other staff.

Elms denied accusations of kissing a child on the forehead and touching any genital areas.

He described his play as “rough-housing” and said that he would hug students who were upset or needed cheering up.

One person’s fun or enjoyment could be perceived differently by others, he said.

However, he agreed the acts were likely to discredit the profession, he was guilty of serious misconduct and deregistration was appropriate.

Let’s look at the positives here.

No name suppression.  Time from concern to action has been amazingly short when compared to the usual cases.  Action has been appropriate.

The question:  is this occasion due to the overt nature of this man’s actions?  Or is it due to the processes truly picking up this kind of problem much earlier?

The other question:  why was this man not weeded out during training?  He will have been on several months of placements.  This is a serious question for the profession to consider: should the education of teachers have some kind of filter to ensure these inappropriate people don’t waste 3 or 4 years of their lives educating themselves for a profession they are clearly  not suitable for?


– NZN via Yahoo! News

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