On the naughty step - Conduct that deserves a ticking off

This week: misbehaving teachers

Here at TESS Towers, we sympathise with teachers. As if the job wasn't difficult enough, few other professions demand that their members also serve as role models for the next generation. (Apart from footballers, who tend to be on slightly better money.)

But while most school staff understand the need to set a good example, every so often a bad apple comes along. While carrying out jury service, New York high school teacher Damian Esteban was stopped by court security guards, who discovered that his bag contained, not marking, but 20 envelopes of heroin.

Mr Esteban was kicked off the jury and, not surprisingly, dismissed from his job for what a school official described as "cavalier, careless and irresponsible" behaviour. His "recklessness", an official report concluded, created a risk for students.

So far, so reasonable, one would have thought - but it was not a view shared by a judge, who subsequently ruled that Mr Esteban's punishment had been "unduly harsh", paving the way for his return to the classroom. The school district is less than pleased. "We cannot fathom how a teacher who took 20 bags of heroin into a courthouse is fit to stand in front of a classroom," said a leading lawyer for the city.

So while we wait for the inevitable appeal, we're sending Mr Esteban off to the naughty step to have a think about what it means to set a good example.

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