Drink-driver can still teach

3rd March 2006 at 00:00
A primary supply teacher convicted of four offences, including driving while more than three times over the alcohol limit, has escaped disciplinary action.

Ralph Lee, 53, committed further offences of resisting a police officer, being drunk and disorderly and failing to provide a specimen test for analysis between February 2002 and June 2004.

England's General Teaching Council said that only his convictions for being drunk and disorderly and resisting a police officer constituted unacceptable professional conduct.

It concluded he had failed to provide a good role model for the profession.

Mr Lee said that he "bitterly regretted" his actions.

He committed the offences following the deaths of his mother, brother and cat and when his marriage was in turmoil, he said.

Mr Lee resigned from Brimington junior school in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, in January 2003, after absence amounting to two years due to a severe kidney infection and pneumonia.

He signed up with teacher recruitment agencies, but was struck off by Capita Education Resourcing after disclosing his convictions.

Margaret Bromley, presenting the case, said: "Behaviour such as Mr Lee's is not the sort of conduct you expect from a registered teacher."

Mr Lee said he would not drink alcohol if required to work the following day and had exceeded the court's requirements for completing rehabilitation programmes.

His convictions resulted in fines of pound;490, costs of pound;260, a 36-hour community behaviour order and a 32-month driving ban.

Mr Lee said: "It should never have happened, but I am a human being first and a teacher second. I have served my punishment and have been put in the category of offenders at very low risk of re-offending.

"I do not feel my offences impaired my ability to teach. I would never behave inappropriately in the presence of colleagues or pupils.

"I would therefore ask to be allowed to remain in the profession I love and have been committed to all my working life."

Mr Lee, who is unemployed, was arrested by police in February 2002 after they received reports of a disturbance at his home. They arrived to find him slumped in the passenger seat of his car. Mr Lee, who said he was avoiding confrontation with his wife, locked the door and shouted abuse at officers before being arrested.

In November 2004, police were informed of a car swerving from side to side on a single carriageway and arrived to find Mr Lee in a drunken state.

A breath test showed he had 109 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath - more than three times the legal limit of 35.

Mr Lee worked as a supply teacher at two schools after his four convictions. The panel heard that his teaching was exemplary.

* newsdesk@tes.co.uk

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