Rare males have to be protected

30th June 2000 at 01:00
PROPOSALS by Conservative leader William Hague to protect teachers accused of abuse are welcome (TES, June 16). We see too many cases of innocent teachers whose lives and careers are ruined by false allegations of abuse, even after they have been acquitted of any offence - mud sticks.

However, those cleared of allegations must also be compensated - either financially or by a period of paid leave. Being falsely accused and suspended can cause severe personal distress and long-term damage to the accused's career.

It is also unreasonable for an acquitted teacher to have to work with the child who madethe false accusation. The pupil - not the teacher - must be moved to another class or school.

Men are increasingly reluctant to work with children, partly because many are afraid of being thought suspect merely for wanting to work with young people.

Many are frightened to pick up and comfort an injured child in case they are accused of being an abuser. Primary schools throughout the country have no male teachers and, if current trends continue, there will soon be none at all.

Kay Driver

General secretary

Professional Association of Teachers

2 St James Court


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