Page last updated at 13:55 GMT, Tuesday, 20 October 2009 14:55 UK

Teacher 'slapped' smoking pupil

A head teacher slapped a pupil on the face when he refused to stop smoking on school premises, a court heard.

Eve Ritchie-Fallon allegedly confronted him outside the Forest Education Centre, Dibden Purlieu, which educates children with behavioural difficulties.

The pupil, 15, told Southampton Magistrates' Court she ripped a pair of earmuffs from his head and slapped him around the face on 21 November 2008.

Ms Ritchie-Fallon, of Pennington, denies a charge of assault by beating.

The court heard how the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been standing smoking with friends and when he was asked to stop.

Admitted swearing

It caused an angry exchange of words followed by the alleged assault.

The teenager, who had previously suffered a broken jaw, said it caused his face to throb and he attended hospital for three days.

He told the court: "I couldn't eat properly without it getting worse."

The boy said that after Ms Ritchie-Fallon had slapped him, she spoke to him "aggressively" but without swearing, while he admitted swearing at her but said he was in shock.

The pupil said he frequently argued with his head teacher, whom he described as strict.

Mark Elliott, defending, asked the boy whether he had made up the story because he feared being permanently excluded from the educational centre. The pupil denied this.

He looked a bit agitated and a bit taken aback by everything
Pupil's mother

The boy's mother told the court that her son suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

She said he was capable of becoming verbally aggressive, although he was less likely to become violent as he grew older.

Describing how he appeared when she picked him up on the day of the alleged attack, she said: "He looked a bit agitated and a bit taken aback by everything."

Ms Ritchie-Fallon, of Long Close, claimed the assault never took place.

She said the student had ignored her when she asked him to put out the cigarette.

She said he pretended to not hear her because of the earmuffs he was wearing, and she removed them in a non-aggressive manner.

The Forest Education Centre teaches children aged between 11 and 16 who have been referred because of behavioural difficulties or because they have been permanently excluded from school.



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