I refer with undue kindness to the front page “story” in today’s Daily Telegraph (right), otherwise an example of the class of journalism which explains why fish and chips are no longer wrapped in newspaper for fear of consumers contracting some awful disease.
ALMOST 60 public school teachers have been removed from the classroom due to criminal investigations, child protection allegations or incompetence – but they are still costing NSW taxpayers up to $85,000 a week.
They are known as the Education Department’s “TOADs” – Teachers on Alternative Duties – and continue to draw their salary despite not teaching while allegations against them are investigated.
The Daily Telegraph has learned that 10 teachers in primary and secondary schools across the state are facing criminal charges and a further 26 are either being disciplined or investigated over serious child protection issues.
Data obtained under Freedom of Information show 18 teachers also have been sidelined – but not sacked – over “efficiency concerns” and five are being disciplined for misconduct…
From here the “story”, this piece of “news” in which nothing new is reported, degenerates into a tale of kiddy fiddlers highlighting ONE case where a teacher impregnated a teenage female student now aged 19. The parallel story in the Murdoch’s stablemate The Australian rightly quotes a Department spokesman who points to the obvious: “Teachers on alternative duties due to disciplinary measures, misconduct investigations or unsatisfactory performance in the classroom form approximately 0.1 per cent of the fulltime staff.”
I have never been in Toad Hall but I have known at least three who have. One was a clear case of injustice which nonetheless had to be investigated; the other two involved what we might call psychiatric problems. None of them involved kiddy fiddling. Does anyone really think there is anything wrong with people under investigation being deployed elsewhere, or perhaps more commonly put on leave, while the investigation continues? Does this not happen throughout the public service and the police? Would anyone countenance such people being suspended on no pay?
The one glimmer of compassion, but that in pocketbook rather than heart terms, comes in an accompanying editorial, where it is said that such investigations sometimes take far too long. That is no doubt true.