Accused of touching pupils

18th November 2005 at 00:00
I was disturbed by your front-page photograph (TES, November 4) showing a boy in pursuit of a football, being restrained by a male adult, who clearly had his hand on him.

The boy - who presumably had not given permission for the male to touch him - was, claimed the article, enjoying football with this man.

A game of football, played at night, down some dark alley with a man wearing a suit and tie? Surely this is not right?

I am a teacher who has just received a written warning for "inappropriate touching" of two of my tutees. Despite there being no evidence or truth, the students themselves being surrounded by fellow friends, doors open etc, the head issued the warning on the grounds of "perception".

For me, teaching is now a rapidly fading pleasure. Originally, I perceived it as an exciting, dynamic and fulfilling profession. Now, as a result of some female students bringing claims that were false and malicious, the perception that I touched them inappropriately has created suspicion that is unjustified. My home life has been ruined, and my work life is a now a constant round of fear. So I look at the photograph and I warn fellow teachers. Perception is within the eye of the accuser, and there is no defence.

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