Air gun teacher wants job back

15th July 2005 at 01:00
A teacher jailed for firing an air pistol during a confrontation with a gang of youths is considering legal action after failing to win her job back.

Governors at New Park special school, Eccles, Salford, upheld their local council's decision to dismiss Linda Walker from her pound;35,000-a-year post as head of food technology.

The 48-year-old had been sentenced to six months in prison for affray and possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear at Manchester crown court in March. She was freed 36 days later when appeal court judges quashed the sentence but ruled her conviction should stand.

The mother-of-two, who has taught for 25 years, still faces being banned from teaching by the Department for Education and Skills or the General Teaching Council.

She made no comment after Monday's day-long hearing in Salford. Her union, the NASUWT, said it was taking legal advice. Chris Keates, the general secretary, said: "It is a tragedy that somebody with a hitherto unblemished career who has years of commitment to the education service has been dismissed.

"None of us know how we would react had we faced years of torment and abuse at the hands of a group of youngsters. It is regrettable that the governors have placed more emphasis on one lapse caused by extreme provocation than years of service."

The trial heard Mrs Walker lost control and used the gun after her family and home in Urmston, Manchester, had been plagued for years by youths. She grabbed an air pistol and fired it at the pavement during a stand-off with a gang she believed had vandalised her home. But no evidence was produced at the trial that any of the youths she confronted had been involved in the vandalism.

John Warmisham, Salford council's lead member for children's services, said: "It would send the wrong message if teachers with such convictions were to be permitted to carry on."

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