A former teacher at one of the country's top secondary
schools has appeared in court charged with committing an
indecent act at the school.
The man was granted interim name suppression when he appeared
in the Auckland District Court today. He entered no plea to a
charge of committing an indecent act in June last year.
The alleged act happened in a classroom the secondary school,
where the man worked for more than a decade.
A NZ Teachers Council spokesman confirmed the man was now
under investigation by the education body.
"He was suspended by the employer in June last year and he
resigned the following month," the spokesman said.
"Our understanding is that he hasn't taught since then. He
also has signed a voluntary undertaking not to teach."
The council had suspended the man on an interim basis anyway,
meaning he cannot lawfully work as a teacher.
"We know about the charges and our disciplinary investigation
will be completed, a tribunal hearing conducted and a
decision handed down after the criminal processes are
completed," the spokesman said.
"In criminal charges of this kind we wait for the criminal
process to run its course."
Today, the current principal of the school where the alleged
act occurred referred APNZ to the board of trustees chairman
for comment, but the chairman could not be contacted.
The accused declined to comment when approached.
His case has surfaced as proposed legislation beefing up
teacher regulation and removing secrecy around disciplinary
proceedings is before parliament.
Among the proposed changes is the establishment of the
Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand as an independent
statutory body, in place of the NZ Teachers Council.
Other proposed changes include making disciplinary
proceedings against misbehaving teachers open unless there is
good cause for name suppression and automatic referral of
teachers to a disciplinary tribunal for cases of serious
A spokesman from Hekia Parata's office said it would be
inappropriate for the education minister to comment on a
matter before the courts.
Auckland District Court held two charge sheets for the
teacher, however his lawyer, Richard Earwaker, said his
client faced just one charge relating to an incident in the
classroom. He suspected the duplication was an error.
This could not be confirmed with the court tonight.
- By Jimmy Ellingham of APNZ