Teacher dodges ban for racist slurs on Obama

29th July 2011 at 01:00
He referred to 'coloured friends' and told sixth-form pupils he disliked Jews

A maths teacher who told pupils he disliked Jews and called Barack Obama a "nigger" has avoided a classroom ban after telling a disciplinary hearing that his behaviour was a one-off.

Michael Webb was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct by a General Teaching Council for England (GTC) panel, but he received only a reprimand.

He made the remarks during a GCSE revision class at Cambridge Centre for Sixth-Form Studies (CCSS) in April 2009. CCSS is an independent sixth-form college with a high proportion of foreign students that aims to get its pupils into leading universities.

Mr Webb told his class: "I call my coloured friends 'nigger' and they call me 'white honky'."

The GTC panel ruled that he had also "used words to the effect that he didn't like Jews" and, referring to the US president, told the class: "I ain't having no fucking nigger tell me what to do."

He was sacked by CCSS after a parent complained.

At a hearing in Birmingham, panel chairman Jason Whyborn said: "The language used by Mr Webb was plainly inappropriate, but particularly so given that it was wholly unconnected to the lesson he was teaching and, by his own admission, caused upset to a pupil.

"Rather than heeding this distress, he dismissed her response as emotional blackmail."

Mr Webb was told he had "failed to demonstrate respect for diversity and promote equality" and that his actions involved "a breach of the standards of propriety expected of the profession".

But Mr Whyborn added: "We have noted that this was an isolated incident and ... Mr Webb had previously had a long and unblemished record which is supported by the appraisal forms from the parents of students he has taught.

"It does not appear that Mr Webb went into the class with the intention of engaging in such behaviour and does not have a propensity for that.

"We therefore believe that the sanction we have imposed will have the necessary salutary effect."

Denise Hammersley, vice-principal of CCSS, told the Cambridge News: "He was not a permanent member of staff. We employed him through an agency.

"After the complaint was made by a parent he was met by the then principal, Neil Roskilly, who interviewed him and then formally dismissed him and informed the General Teaching Council. We dealt with the matter immediately."

The reprimand will stay on Mr Webb's record for two years.


Abuse, taunts and intimidation

A head who described parents as "Muslim fuckers" and called a supply teacher a "black bitch" was banned from the profession indefinitely in June this year. Simon Parker (pictured), who was head of Coppice Primary School in Chigwell, Essex, "harassed, belittled, intimidated and bullied" staff and pupils, a GTC panel heard.

Also in June, Christopher Elliott was banned from teaching after subjecting children with special educational needs to a sustained campaign of "mental and emotional abuse". He branded one physically disabled boy "Joe Witless" and asked another child if he had taken his "mad pills" at Christopher Whitehead Language College in Worcester.

In January 2010, Adrian Shaw was reprimanded after a GTC panel heard he addressed a special-needs pupil as a "homo" and struck another student at Garston Manor School in Hertfordshire.

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