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Education Department apologises for relief teacher’s ‘absolutely unacceptable’ behavior

Liam Bartlett
Article image for Education Department apologises for relief teacher’s ‘absolutely unacceptable’ behavior

A group of Butler Primary School students have been left traumatised after a relief teacher refused to allow children to go to the toilet, forcing them to wet their pants.

It’s alleged the relief teacher also put a child with special needs in a headlock and picked up the class ‘Elf on the shelf’ and told students Santa isn’t real.

An internal report from Butler Primary School obtained by 6PR claims the teacher “wouldn’t allow students to go to the toilet”, telling them “it is not a right but a privilege”.

The report says the relief teacher told another student they would need to write “a persuasive essay to justify why he should go to the toilet”, and “as a result several students wet their pants”.

It’s alleged two children ran out of the classroom desperate to go to the toilet, and when they returned the relief teacher locked the door so they couldn’t come back in.

The report also outlines how the teacher “wouldn’t allow a student to use his sensory fidget toy.”

It’s alleged he grabbed the student, who has special needs, and put him into a headlock to retrieve the toy.

Rachel is a mother of one of the children and told 6PR’s Gary Adshead “I can’t believe this has happened in 2020 in one of our schools”.

“It’s not a privilege to go to the toilet, it’s a basic human right of a child,” she said.

Erin, the mother of a separate child said “it’s heartbreaking”.

“It’s a horrible feeling that you have sent your children to a place where they don’t feel safe,” Erin said.

“We don’t want it to happen again, we don’t want any other children to go through this.”

She told Gary Adshead parents only heard about the incident when their children got home from school.

“We as parents should have been notified.”

Multiple parents told 6PR Mornings their children were too traumatized to return to school the following week.

“My young fella didn’t want to go back to the school on the Monday, because he was concerned they were going to have another relief teacher again,” a father said.

Director General of the Department of Education Lisa Rogers told Gary Adshead the incident is being investigated.

“To those parents and the children, I am really sorry, that behavior is completely unacceptable and it’s wrong,” Ms Rogers said.

“I took it through to our standards and integrity unit, it’s also been reported to the WA Police, and of course the teachers registration board.”

She condemned the relief teachers behavior as “absolutely unacceptable.”

“The bottom line is there is a code of conduct, and the first priority is to care for those students,” the Director General said.

“The children that come into our classrooms should feel safe.”

The Education Department confirmed the teacher has been removed from the schools regular relief agency, and students will be offered counselling.

Click play to hear the full interview. 

(Photo: Nine News.)

Liam Bartlett