Struck off for offensive language

5th June 2009 at 01:00
Litany of inappropriate behaviour by RE teacher

A religious education teacher who showed pupils a video clip containing "extreme and offensive language", including the phrases "fenian b*****ds", "f**kin' bead-rattler" and "f**kin' taigs", argued he was teaching about dictatorship.

Stephen McInally was struck off the General Teaching Council for Scotland's register last week for engaging in explicit conversations with pupils about sex and showing the clip, deemed "sectarian in nature".

Teaching at Vale of Leven Academy in Alexandria, he showed an S5 English class the YouTube clip, "Transfer deadline day at Ibrox". The three-minute film features an extract from Downfall, a German film about the final 12 days of Adolf Hitler, but has superimposed football-related subtitles, referring to Rangers.

Mr McInally, 47, said he had decided to show the video because the class was studying George Orwell's classic Nineteen Eighty-Four and had started to discuss dictatorship. He admitted he remembered the clip contained "foul language" but what had stuck with him was that it had come from "a particularly good documentary". He had hoped to remove the subtitles, he said, but was "not that technically able".

Pupils helped Mr McInally bypass the school's internet firewall in order to show the film which, he argued, was a "spoof video" poking fun at Protestants and Catholics and therefore not sectarian.

He admitted he was wrong to show the clip. He said he had been suffering from depression and had consequently lacked judgment.

The incident, which took place in February last year, came to light when an S2 pupil's parents complained. During the the investigation, other examples of unprofessional and inappropriate behaviour emerged. This included Mr McInally accusing one pupil of not being able to "get it up" at the weekend and joking that another's organ was so small he would need a magnifying glass and tweezers.

Mr McInally had already received a final written warning from West Dunbartonshire Council for telling an S4 class the previous year that "when you are having oral sex, it is pleasurable to your partner if you stick your fingers up their bum".

Mr McInally said he "foolishly strayed" into mentioning the "technique" during a class discussion on homelessness. He was dismissed in July 2008. The decision that he should be struck off will prevent him from teaching anywhere in the UK. The GTCS disciplinary sub-committee recommended he be banned from working with children.

Committee convener James Thewliss said Mr McInally had "demonstrated a consistent and persistent lack of judgment" and his explanations were "unconvincing".

- A supply teacher who suffers from mental health problems has been struck off after smashing into his girlfriend's home with an axe. William McMenemy, 54, who is bi-polar, had been convicted of a breach of the peace. The incident on Skye happened after he stopped taking medication.

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