'Big penis' quip demeaned pupils, finds GTC panel

24th December 2010 at 00:00
Reprimand for teacher who told class he wore a tie because it pointed to his genitals

A teacher who told his class that he wore a tie because it was an "arrow" that "pointed to his big penis" has had his wrist slapped by the General Teaching Council for England.

Rodney Williams, who was working as a supply teacher at St Thomas More RC School in north London, was found guilty of unprofessional conduct and issued with a formal reprimand because his comments were "demeaning" to pupils.

A witness, named only as Pupil A, told the disciplinary hearing that Mr Williams said "the only jobs it (a tie) was good for were to keep his neck warm and the arrow on the end pointed to his big penis".

Mr Williams' comments - made in May 2007 - were in response to Pupil A's question about why he was using his tie to clean his glasses.

The pupil's testimony, which was accepted by the panel, was not the only account of the incident. Another witness, Pupil B, said Mr Williams had not mentioned his penis but instead had said "peanuts".

Mr Williams said he was making a "comment on fashion" and wanted the Year 9 class to discuss "how graphic imagery is used in advertising". In a formal statement prepared on the day of the incident, he claimed he had said: "It keeps my neck warm in the winter but serves no other purpose and looks like a broad arrow pointing at the genitals."

Mr Williams is not the first to speculate about where a tie may or may not be pointing.

Kathryn Hughes, a British historian and author of The Short Life and Long Times of Mrs Beeton, wrote in the Guardian in 2006: "In these metrosexual days, for a man to insist on wearing a tie does not speak of a casual and unforced masculinity, but suggests instead a nagging worry about where the proper markers lie.

"For, viewed against a crisp white shirt, the classic dark tie forms an urgent pointing finger, dragging the viewer's eye straight towards the wearer's genitals. 'Look,' the tie seems to shout, like an embarrassing drunk in the pub, 'there's no doubt about it, he's definitely all man.'"


Man locked pupils in class

A teacher who "aggressively" grabbed a child by the throat and stopped pupils from leaving his classroom has been suspended from the profession for two years.

Tony Forsyth has been ordered to attend anger management training after his "threatening" behaviour towards teenagers.

Mr Forsyth forced a Year 11 pupil backwards when he grabbed his throat in November 2007. Ten days earlier, he had locked children in his classroom and used his body to block the fire exit. When they said it was "against the law", he replied: "I don't give a shit about the law."

Mr Forsyth's school, Sheredes in Hertfordshire, had failed an Ofsted inspection and GTC panel chair Paul Bird said he was not given the appropriate support.

He will be able to work again after two years if he completes the anger management training.

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