Teacher appeals against bullies' ruling

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The Independent Online
A teacher who let a pupil smack a group of bullies with a ruler was given a final written warning yesterday after refusing to make a firm undertaking not to do the same again.

Brenda Davies was told at the end of a two-hour disciplinary hearing that if the incident at Tennyson Road Primary School in Luton was repeated, she could be sacked.

Mrs Davies was removed from her infant class last week and asked to teach older children after she allowed five year-old Joe Middleton to smack six other children on the hand.

She has defended her actions, and has written to the Secretary of State for Education, Gillian Shephard, to appeal for her support. Yesterday, she said that she had acted in line with the school's anti-bullying policy.

"The headmaster maintains that what I did amounted to corporal punishment. I believe my action was in the children's best interests. I love children, I do whatever is best for them," she said.

Mrs Davies has 14 days in which to decide whether to appeal against the decision.

However, a statement from parents of all the children involved, including Joe Middleton, condemned the teacher for contacting the media.

"She escalated a simple playground game which had got a bit too boisterous into a major incident. We as a group of mothers are working together to heal the rifts that have now been created between our children," it said.

A spokesman for Bedfordshire County Council, one of whose officers attended the hearing with the school's head teacher, said Mrs Davies would return to school today.

"For now, everyone is concerned to ensure that the school gets back to its normal routine, and that it is able to concentrate on what really matters here, and that is the continuing education of all the children," he said.