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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 March, 2005, 10:01 GMT 11:01 UK
Lying pupils 'must face charges'
By Justin Parkinson
BBC News education reporter, at the NASUWT conference

stressed teacher
Lives are ruined by malicious claims say teachers
Children and parents who make false allegations against teachers should face criminal charges, an education union says.

The NASUWT, holding its annual conference, also voted for staff cleared after investigation to be removed from police files.

Every month, more than 12 allegations of criminal activity were made against members, delegates heard.

But less than 4% of these claims resulted in convictions.

John Thirsk, a teacher from Denbighshire, told the conference in Brighton: "The tide of malicious allegations shows no sign of waning.

"On a regular basis, teachers are still subject to the knee-jerk reactions of many head teachers and local authorities who consider suspension the appropriate response to any allegations."

The conference heard how some teachers were driven to nervous breakdowns because of false claims made against them.

One had been accused of throwing a pupil down a manhole at school.

It transpired that he had been shopping at the time and that the story had been invented to cover up for the bully responsible.

Anonymity

In another case, a 20-year-old man had alleged sexual abuse by a primary school teacher 10 years earlier. This was also proved to be false.

Meanwhile, one child had made accusations based on the plot of a TV soap opera.

Last November, the government started a consultation with teachers about the problem of malicious allegations.

The findings are expected to be published next month.

Jules Donaldson, a teacher from Sandwell, said: "Children in schools receive an education.

"This shouldn't be just about subjects and exams but should prepare them for life.

"They and their parents need to learn they cannot go around making allegations just for mischief.

"Perhaps teachers too need to be litigious at times."

In some cases, where accused teachers gained too much public exposure, there should be guaranteed anonymity in law, the union said.


SEE ALSO:
Action promised on violent pupils
30 Mar 05 |  Education
Call for a ban on violent pupils
29 Mar 05 |  Education
Teachers seek help over violence
27 Mar 05 |  Education
MPs 'need a week in classroom'
24 Mar 05 |  Education
Class discipline still a concern
02 Mar 05 |  Scotland
Plan for 'zero' lesson disruption
01 Feb 05 |  Politics


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