Teacher who failed to report knife is struck off

Seafield Primary - former teacher is struck off.
Seafield Primary – former teacher is struck off.

A MORAY PRIMARY School teacher has been struck off by her governing body after she admitted hiding a knife that had been taken to school by a pupil.

Jane Callister, 46, was teaching at Seafield Primary School in Elgin when she discovered a knife – and rather than reporting it she sought to take action herself.

Callister, who resigned from her job at the school last year, appeared before the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) this week facing five charges in relation to the incident which happened between December 2014 and June 2015.

After finding the knife in the school, Callister admitted that she took it to the boys home “to stop him getting into trouble at school” rather than bringing it to the attention of the head teacher.

She told the hearing: “One day after school I was marking and went to collect jotters from pupil’s trays. In pupil A’s tray I discovered a small multi-tool with a knife attachment, like a Swiss army knife.

“I put it in my bag and never informed the head teacher as I felt it would be detrimental to pupil A. He was a bright pupil who came on a great deal in my class – I didn’t believe the acting head teacher and pupil A had a good relationship.”

Callister spoke to the pupil at his home in the presence of his father, where she was told he was using the knife “for his den” – the pupil had placed the multi-purpose knife in his tray at school because he felt it would be safe there.

Admitting that she had also invited the pupil to her home, Callister told the hearing: “It is true I invited pupil A to spend time with me on more than one occasion.  I was aware from what pupil A had said to me that he was often left to look after his younger siblings at the weekends as his father worked late and he got bored.

“While I accept it was an error of judgement, I would urge the panel to find that my intention was innocent.”

The GTCS said that Callister’s actions had “not been in line with the codes of professionalism and conduct that a teacher should uphold”, adding that her actions had been dishonest.

Panel chairman John Kilpatrick said: “The facts in this case have been established and Miss Callister has been dishonest in her actions.  The panel have decided that the respondent is unfit to teach and the respondent’s name is to be removed from the teaching register.”