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Last Updated: Friday, 22 September 2006, 13:10 GMT 14:10 UK
Head teacher assaulted two pupils
Catherine Taylor
Taylor denied the allegations at Aberdeen Sheriff Court
An Aberdeen primary school head teacher has been found guilty of assaulting two pupils.

Catherine Taylor, 46, denied assaulting 10 children over several years.

The head teacher was found guilty of grabbing a boy by his genitals and placed on the sex offenders' register. Taylor also assaulted a girl.

Sheriff Graeme Buchanan found her not guilty of eight other charges at Aberdeen Sheriff Court and sentence was deferred for reports.

The sheriff said grabbing the boy's genitals was behaviour designed to shock and humiliate in front of fellow pupils.

He said her actions were unnatural, improper and grossly excessive.

Speaking after the case, the mother of one of the children involved in the trial said: "Taylor got what she deserved."

Teachers are rightly held to very strict standards with regard to child protection
EIS spokesman

As Taylor left court an object was allegedly thrown towards her. There were no injuries.

Grampian Police said a woman had been charged in connection with the incident and a report would be sent to the procurator fiscal.

During the earlier evidence, the boy had said his face went red when Taylor took hold of his genitals.

Taylor told the court the majority of the primary school's pupils came from stable backgrounds, but a number of children came from home environments that could be described as "chaotic".

When asked if the allegations were things she would do, she replied: "Never, I would not have done it at all, whether there were children present or not."

'Evil intent'

In her closing submission, Depute Fiscal Helen Knipe said what Taylor had done went beyond reasonable force or chastisement.

Andrew Gibb, defending, said some of the witnesses were not credible nor reliable.

He argued that in many of the charges there was no criminal intent and others fell into the category of reasonable chastisement.

Sheriff Buchanan said a prosecution required proof the teacher acted with "evil intent".

The school is not being named for legal reasons.

An Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) teaching union spokesman said: "While we would not wish to comment on the details of this individual case, today's judgement does highlight the many grey areas in which teachers must operate when attempting to maintain classroom discipline.

Aberdeen City Council acknowledges that this has been a difficult time for the school
Council spokesman

"Essentially, teachers are now operating in a situation where children cannot be touched under any circumstances, even if it is for the protection or well-being of the child or other children.

"It is also clear is that teachers are rightly held to very strict standards with regard to child protection.

"Teachers must always be well aware that if they act inappropriately or outwith what would be considered reasonable behaviour, they will be liable to suspension or criminal prosecution."

An Aberdeen City Council spokesman said: "In light of this case, a new policy for reporting concerns on child protection was quickly implemented at the school and all staff have since been given child protection training.

"It would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this stage on internal staffing matters.

"Aberdeen City Council acknowledges that this has been a difficult time for the school and the wider community.

"We would like to reassure parents that continuity of education and the children's learning experience has remained a priority throughout."


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
One girl's mother describes her reaction to the verdict



SEE ALSO
Abuse claims head awaiting fate
21 Sep 06 |  North East/N Isles
Head teacher in assaults denial
08 Sep 06 |  North East/N Isles
Pupil alleges assault by teacher
07 Sep 06 |  North East/N Isles
Teacher 'grabbed private parts'
06 Sep 06 |  North East/N Isles
Trial teacher 'left marks on boy'
05 Sep 06 |  North East/N Isles
Teacher faces assault allegations
04 Sep 06 |  North East/N Isles
Teacher cleared of pupil assault
29 Aug 06 |  Glasgow and West

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