Vodka lies drive head to depression

11th June 2004 at 01:00
A north Wales primary headteacher who was falsely accused of keeping a secret stash of vodka in his office is unable to return to school because of the stress caused by the incident.

David Jones, head of Ysgol Y Drindod, in Wrexham, was suspended in November, after the parents of a nine-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl reported him to the local authority, claiming that he had pulled the boy's arm, and that he had hidden a bottle of vodka in his office.

Mr Jones claimed that the children had made their accusations after he caught the girl stealing a pound;20 note, and the boy running off with another child's mobile phone. From the outset, the 55-year-old insisted that the allegations were completely unfounded.

"The boy had been misbehaving at lunchtime, striking out and kicking people, so to calm him down I took him by the arm and brought him to my office," he said. "But they said that I'd dragged him. And I've never had vodka in my office. It's a complete lie."

Despite a lack of corroborative evidence, Mr Jones, who has been head of the school for 14 years, was suspended. His suspension was lifted in March when all the allegations were found to be groundless. However, he has been off on sick leave since with stress and depression.

The two children who made the allegations are still at the school.

This month Mr Jones is to meet local authority officials to discuss his return. He said: "The natural reaction of many people is to think that there is no smoke without fire. People have taken potshots at me, and I have no redress. It's been hit, hit, hit in one direction."

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