Teacher helped SEN pupil search for internet pornography

17th June 2011 at 01:00
He projected images on classroom whiteboard as 'teaching aid'

A teacher who helped a pupil with special educational needs search for pictures of naked women on the internet - and then projected them on an interactive whiteboard in his classroom - has been barred from the profession indefinitely.

Keith Cox used his school laptop to find images for the child, who had asked him for help in accessing pornography, the General Teaching Council for England (GTC) ruled.

Mr Cox also insulted a young child with Down's syndrome and used sexual language such as "boobies" in front of his class, the GTC heard. A disciplinary panel described his behaviour as "demeaning" and "appalling".

The incidents occurred while Mr Cox was working at Bracken Hill special school in Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, between 2004 and 2005, although Mr Cox continued to be employed there until 2008.

Mr Cox said he had helped the pupil to find pornography on the internet as a "teaching aid to show the child what was acceptable". The incident happened in the classroom at lunchtime.

Mr Cox denied that the pictures were inappropriate, but a teaching assistant, Rachel Kenyon, told the GTC panel one of the photographs was of two naked women facing each other in a suggestive manner. Pictures obtained during an investigation of Mr Cox's laptop were of "scantily clad women".

Mrs Kenyon and another teaching assistant, Victoria Knight, told the committee that Mr Cox frequently made comments of a sexual nature about their appearance, particularly their underwear, in front of the whole class, which they found embarrassing and upsetting.

Mr Cox said this was his way of telling them "tactfully" that what they were wearing was revealing, but the women said they were always dressed appropriately.

The hearing was told it was common practice for Mr Cox to use sexual language in class, frequently using words like "boobies", "bums", and "sexy lady".

Mr Cox admitted "grabbing" and shouting at a "nervous" 11-year-old boy with Down's syndrome. Mr Cox said the child had pulled down his trousers and pants and exposed himself to the class and that he had to shout because the child was deaf.

But Ms Knight said Mr Cox shouted loudly in the child's face and then proceeded to pull down his trousers and pants. The GTC committee accepted this account.

GTC panel chair Rosalind Burford said Mr Cox had been working with "some challenging children" and this had been stressful, but said there was a "significant risk" of him repeating his behaviour.

"Mr Cox has demonstrated virtually no insight into his behaviour and expressed no regret," she said.

"The incident when he sought to rebuke an 11-year-old Down's syndrome boy ... was particularly appalling."

'NOT RELEVANT' BIGAMIST STAYS

A teacher convicted of bigamy has been reprimanded but allowed to remain in the profession.

Christopher Doyle was given a suspended prison sentence last year after police discovered he was married to a woman in the US, and had married again to a woman in Cornwall.

Mr Doyle, who works at Newquay Tretherras School, provided positive references from his headteacher and colleagues to the GTC panel.

Although he regretted the "reputational damage to the school", Mr Doyle argued that his offence was not "relevant" to his work.

But panel chair Sam Crooks said his actions had the "potential to adversely affect public confidence in the teaching profession".

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