Reprimand for YouTube stripper who got shirty

11th December 2009 at 00:00
Supply teacher also boasted to class that he would throw pupil from window

A suffolk teacher has been reprimanded after stripping half-naked in front of his class - an act that was videoed and posted on the internet - and threatening to throw a pupil out of a window.

Pupils used their mobile phones to film Martin Rouse when he took off his shirt during a lesson. Last week he was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct by the General Teaching Council (GTC) and issued with a warning.

He has been banned from Sudbury Upper School and Arts College by headteacher David Forrest, as well all other Suffolk secondaries.

The online video was viewed almost 800 times, but has now been removed.

Mr Rouse, 59, told a local newspaper he was in a "state of shock" and "totally stunned" at being ordered out of the school.

He revealed he had a heart condition and diabetes, and has suffered from depression. Childen had nicknamed him "Gimli", after a dwarf character in Lord of the Rings.

Mr Rouse has been a teacher since 1976 and chose supply work because he was unable to work full-time because of his ill-health.

He had been teaching at Sudbury Upper School and Arts College for a week before the incident in April 2008. While teaching a class of Year 9s, including some disruptive pupils, he joked that he was strong enough to throw one pupil out of the window because he had been using chest expanders.

"I thought 'should I do this?', but I wanted to be cool because that is my rapport with the pupils," Mr Rouse told the local Suffolk Free Press. "I tried to roll up my sleeve, but couldn't so I took off my shirt quickly and then put it back on. It was a spur of the moment thing.

"It wasn't a chaotic lesson. It wasn't a wise thing to have done. I was just responding to the situation and getting students to co-operate and enjoy the lesson."

The GTC panel said it accepted that Mr Rouse had been trying to use humour to "engage" pupils when he threatened to throw one out of the window. "Nevertheless, the words used were capable of and may have been viewed as a threat by some of the pupils," the panel said.

"Mr Rouse's actions could have led to the class becoming dangerously out of control. In addition, some pupils may have felt intimidated by the words used.

"Mr Rouse removed his shirt in the classroom which was a clear breach of the standards of propriety expected of the profession.

"The video of the incident became publicly available and Mr Rouse's actions were seriously detrimental to the standing of the profession.

"As far we are aware these were isolated incidents which resulted from an ill-considered attempt to control the class. Mr Rouse has demonstrated some insight into his failings.

"As far as we can ascertain, Mr Rouse has a previous good history and this is supported by a reference from a supply agency for whom he worked successfully for two years."

Could do better

Teachers behaving badly

- When head of Willoughton Primary in Lincolnshire, Malcolm Beresford referred to female staff members as a "harem" and nicknamed a governor "posh pants". He also referred to a member of the governing body as "vindaloo". He is yet to be sentenced.

- Patricia Ann Baynes, head of Bordesley Green East Nursery School in Birmingham, "force-fed" children in her care and left them in soiled underwear. In September, the GTC banned her for three years.

- When head of Beaconsfield Primary in Southall, west London, Kanta Riley shook pupils, ordered them to go without shoes and threatened to wash their mouths out with soap. She was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

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