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Teacher banned for firing air gun

26 January 10 15:50 GMT

A school teacher who fired an air pistol to scare a gang of youths who attacked him has been struck off.

Allan Dickson's actions were deemed "highly irresponsible and reckless" by a panel at the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).

The disciplinary sub-committee said there was no alternative to removing the 33-year-old's name from the teaching register.

The decision means that he is banned from teaching.

In a written decision, the panel said: "The public and parents are entitled to expect high standards from registered teachers and it was felt in this case that the respondent's conduct fell far short of that."

The secondary teacher was convicted at Edinburgh Sheriff Court in March last year of breach of the peace and a contravention of the Firearms Act.

The court heard he had fetched the weapon from his house in Edinburgh and fired it into the ground after a group of men shouted at him and one of them assaulted him when he returned home from a night out in July 2008.

Dickson, who was 32 at the time of the court hearing, was fined £1,000.

The GTC panel noted that the convictions were admitted and that the teacher accepted they were "relevant" offences.

Dickson submitted two character references, from a church minister and a head teacher, along with a letter expressing "deep regret" for his conduct.

'Unlawful possession'

The sub-committee took account of the fact that it was his first offence, which was said to be out of character, and noted that he was having counselling for an alcohol problem.

However, in its determination, the panel said: "In all the circumstances the sub-committee was unanimous in concluding that the respondent's name should be removed from the register.

"The charges of which he was convicted were plainly treated by the procurator fiscal as grave and serious in so far as matters were dealt with under solemn procedure by way of indictment.

"In this case it was a matter of fact that the respondent had unlawful possession of a firearm and it was highly irresponsible and reckless of him to engage in criminal behaviour of any kind especially involving the misuse of a firearm."

Dickson will be unable to apply to get back on the register for a year.

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