Head stands by convicted driver

12th March 2004 at 00:00
The head of a Kent school urged governors this week not to sack a maths teacher, convicted for driving into two pupils while drunk.

Daniel O'Donovan, head of Herne Bay high, said Christopher Burke had already been punished by the courts and should not lose his pound;30,000-a-year job.

"He is a reliable and conscientious member of staff and, contrary to what has been reported in some sections of the press, the staff and majority of students at the school are supportive of him.

"I will be recommending to the governing body that as he has been punished by the courts and been remorseful throughout no further action is necessary."

Burke, 41, was fined pound;300 and disqualified from driving for 20 months by Canterbury magistrates last Thursday.

He pleaded guilty to drink-driving after a collision last month in which Aaron Geer, 17, was left bruised and Steven Fulks, 16, dislocated his shoulder.

The accident happened as the father-of-two reversed out of a Chinese takeaway and knocked the boys off their mopeds. He was found to have more than twice the legal limit of alcohol in his blood.

Aaron's father David said he hoped the teacher would not be sacked. "He's probably got a mortgage, and kids. I don't think he should do any community service either. He is already doing a public service by being a teacher."

Steven's father Richard said: "I do not want to see anyone lose their job.

But a pound;300 fine is pathetic. They keep telling me he is a maths master, but he cannot add up the drinks he's had."

He added: "Steven was parked, and if he hadn't kept his crash hat on it could have been a lot worse."

Governors are due to meet in the next two weeks to decide if disciplinary action should be taken.

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