School fires air pistol teacher

27th January 2006 at 00:00
A teacher dismissed after firing an air pistol during a stand-off with a gang of teenagers has lost her claim for unfair dismissal.

Linda Walker was sacked by New Park high school in Salford, in May, two months after being convicted of affray at Manchester Crown Court.

The 48-year-old, who said she lost control after she and her family were plagued by yobs, now faces an anxious wait to find out if she will be put on List 99 and banned from teaching.

Almut Bever-Warren, the head who sacked her from her pound;30,000-a-year post teaching children with behavioural problems, told the tribunal it would be impossible to give Mrs Walker her job back.

She said the school had many "unpredictable" pupils and she could not afford an "unpredictable member of staff".

A DfES spokesman said: "If there is a concern about someone's suitability to work in an education environment that would be taken seriously."

Mrs Walker, a teacher for 25 years, became a cause celebre after she was given a three-month jail sentence in March. She was freed after 36 days when the Appeal Court quashed her sentence but allowed her conviction to stand.

She wept as she told the tribunal she was suffering from stress at the time of the incident in 2004.

After a two-day hearing, Brian Doyle, chairman of the employment tribunal panel in Manchester, ruled that Mrs Walker had committed de facto gross misconduct by reason of her convictions.

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