Banned: Teacher with hammer who intended 'serious harm'

Teacher who was arrested after showing a hammer to a colleague may reapply to teach in four years' time

Teacher banned

A teacher has been banned from the classroom after turning up at someone’s property with a hammer and telling them that he had intended to harm them.

Although no violence occurred, IT teacher James Drapper, 30, was arrested two days after the incident, having told a colleague how he wanted to harm the victim and showed him the hammer, which he kept in his car.

A report by the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) reveals how he was detained by the police and suspended from work pending an investigation.

He appeared at Maidstone Combined Court on 13 June last year for possessing an offensive weapon in a public place and was remanded in prison. However, a week later he was released on bail with an electronic tag prior to sentencing, in October, when he was handed a two-year community order with conditions to complete 100 hours of unpaid work and to attend 50 days of rehabilitation activity.

The TRA report does not state who he had intended to harm nor any details about the circumstances of the incident, other than that they were “personal circumstances”. It states that part of the hearing was heard in private after concerns were raised by Mr Drapper about “confidential matters relating to his health being placed in the public domain and the potential impact upon others”.

IT teacher 'intended to kill or do serious harm'

In banning Mr Draper, the TRA panel states that “the average member of the public would be concerned about a teacher with a conviction of this nature teaching in a school”. However, the report notes that the panel did not believe Mr Drapper posed any risk to the pupils or staff at that time.

After referring to sentencing documents from Maidstone Combined Court, the panel states: “The facts that led to the conviction were agreed. These were as follows: on or around 12 May 2019, you attended an individual’s property with the intention to kill that individual or cause that individual serious harm.

"In advance of attending that property, you purchased a number of items, including a hammer. You attended that property with the hammer concealed, but did not take any action to harm that individual. On 14 May 2019, you attended the school and disclosed to a colleague that you had thoughts of harming an individual and invited your colleague to your vehicle to show him something contained therein.

"Your colleague observed various items within your vehicle, including a hammer. You were accompanied [redacted] and the police and the LADO [local authority designated officer] were informed.”

It adds: “Mr Drapper told the individual who he had intended to harm of what he had planned to do and Mr Drapper recognises that would have led that individual to feel very scared and caused emotional trauma.”

Mr Drapper had started working at Holmesdale School, in Maidstone, Kent, as an IT teacher in the February before the incidents but resigned amid a disciplinary investigation in the July.

One of the references provided to the panel described him as a “competent teacher, with good subject knowledge” who “worked professionally with colleagues and forged some positive relationships with students”.

It states that “the threat to another individual was out of character” but that “Mr Drapper does have a history of struggling to manage his own wellbeing”.

The TRA report notes that Mr Drapper still has almost one year of rehabilitation sessions still to complete, having attended approximately 17 sessions of the 50 that are required, and that he “has realised that he has been given the opportunity to develop his resilience and to learn from this experience”.

He has been banned from teaching indefinitely but may reapply after four years, which the panel states would “be an appropriate length of time for Mr Drapper to learn the skills he needs going forwards and fulfil his aspirations”.

However, the report states: “This is not an automatic right to have the prohibition order removed. If he does apply, a panel will meet to consider whether the prohibition order should be set aside.”

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Dave Speck

Dave Speck is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Specktator100

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