Deputy suspended 'for calling boy a wimp'

A DEPUTY head with a 29-year unblemished career record was suspended after calling a troublemaking pupil a wimp.

Susan Maloney was suspended in March 2001 for unprofessional conduct, after she chastised a nine-year-old boy, an employment tribunal in Liverpool heard this week.

The 51-year-old deputy head of Parish Church of England primary, in St Helens, praised two boys for standing up to the boy whom she called a wimp.

The boy - referred to as "Child A" - had punched another child in the stomach. Two friends of the injured child subsequently retaliated, pushing Child A and hitting him in the face.

Though Child A's parents complained to the school, they accepted Mrs Maloney's apology. But a week later the head, Rebecca Hill, informed her deputy that she would be suspended, pending an investigation.

When the investigation failed to progress, Mrs Maloney resigned, claiming that her suspension was merely a means for Miss Hill, who had been in the post for less than four months, to remove her.

"Miss Hill made it plain when she arrived that she did not want Sue as her deputy," Jenni Watson, national secretary of Redress, the organisation representing Mrs Maloney, told The TES. "Nobody even bothered to ask her what her version of events was, before she was suspended."

Mrs Maloney, who had taught at Parish primary for 29 years prior to her suspension, has since found a new post, as a classroom teacher at Florence Melly primary, in Liverpool. Nonetheless, she claims that the events of the previous year have had a significant impact. "I'm totally traumatised, but pleased that I have had my say on what happened," she said.

The tribunal has been adjourned until September 17, when both sides will produce written submissions.

St Helens borough council, which is representing the school at the tribunal, was unwilling to comment on the case until a verdict had been reached.

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