Teacher cried 'racism' over bad behaviour

4th March 2011 at 00:00
Three-year ban follows false allegation against children and colleagues

An African teacher who falsely accused his colleagues and pupils of racism has been banned from the profession for three years.

Emmanuel Forson blamed the poor behaviour of pupils on the fact that he was black, and asked one to "kneel by his bed and pray for forgiveness" for being badly behaved.

Dr Forson, who has a conviction for taking children out of the UK without consent, was repeatedly told to stop making the allegations to children, teachers and parents while working at the Harwich School in Essex between October 2006 and November 2007.

He said to pupils: "You're doing this because I'm black," a General Teaching Council for England (GTC) disciplinary panel heard.

GTC chair Gail Mortimer said the accusations were "deeply hurtful and offensive" to everyone at the school.

She said Dr Forson, who taught maths, would need to "show a complete change of attitude" before returning to the classroom because of his "serious disregard for the law" and for the "well-being" of children.

Dr Forson, originally from Ghana, also sent disruptive children outside of the classroom rather than to the school's "safe room", completed a "disproportionate and inappropriate" number of incident reports and did not follow the school's detention policy.

Between 5 September 2006 and 15 January 2007, he authorised 280 30-minute detentions and filed 437 incident reports.

In July 2009, he received a 42-week suspended prison sentence at Ipswich Crown Court after being convicted of taking two children - not his pupils - out of the UK in October 2008.

Harwich School head Nigel Mountford and other senior staff met Dr Forson on several occasions to ask him not to make "further comments" about religion and race.

In a meeting with the head of maths, Dr Forson said: "If I had a skin colour like yours I would not have the behaviour problems that I have."

Mrs Mortimer said: "We would like to make it clear that we have seen no evidence that staff, students or parents spoke or acted in a racist manner towards Dr Forson.

"He failed to put the well-being, development and progress of children and young people first; failed to demonstrate respect for diversity and promote equality; failed to work as part of a whole school team; and failed to demonstrate honesty and integrity and uphold public trust and confidence in the teaching profession.

The GTC ruled that Dr Forson had "deep-seated attitudinal problems", but said there was evidence that he was capable of change. "Therefore, at some point, he may be able to achieve the necessary degree of insight that could enable him to return to the register," the judgment said.

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