Friday, January 27, 2023
Teacher faces misconduct hearing over ‘alleged’ inappropriate comments to pupils

Teacher faces misconduct hearing over ‘alleged’ inappropriate comments to pupils

A Llanelli based science teacher who was allegedly prone to ‘joking’  is facing the sack after his classroom banter backfired with sensitive pupils, a misconduct hearing was told.

Head of chemistry Graham Pike is alleged to have made a series of “bad jokes” to teenage pupils who complained over his classroom language.

He allegedly told one pupil he would be “a 40-year-old virgin who would never get married” – and called an Asian pupil “Stan” because he couldn’t pronounce his name.

One pupil was touching a tap when Mr Pike allegedly asked him: “Are you having trouble turning the knob on?”

He also asked another Asian student if his humming was a “tribal or traditional song”.

Experienced teacher Mr Pike, 54, had taught at the Coedcae School in Llanelli, west Wales for almost 20 years.

But the Education Workforce Council hearing was told he was suspended from the 1,000-pupil high school in December 2016 after pupils reported his comments.

Presenting officer Cadi Dewi said: “Two year 10 pupils made allegations that Mr Pike had made inappropriate comments to other pupils.

“The allegations included asking an Asian student if his humming was a tribal or traditional song. He also referred to another Asian as Stan or Steve because he couldn’t pronounce his name.”

Miss Dewi said Pike also made inappropriate comments to a teenage girl after confiscating her phone.

He allegedly told her if she reached into his pocket to retrieve it “she would have a surprise at what she found in there”.

The misconduct hearing was told Mr Pike was initially able to continue teaching but was suspended when another teenage girl – known as Pupil A – complained about his behaviour.

The girl said Pike allegedly removed her coat in class, held her hand, and said: “Why are you lunging towards me? There’s no mistletoe” as she left a classroom.

In a statement, she said: “Mr Pike would tell me to remove my coat immediately. He would tell me to take it off but he didn’t give me enough time to take it off. He took it off my shoulders for me.

“It made me feel uncomfortable and scared.”

Pupil A said she felt “quite strange and sick” after being touched on the hand as Mr Pike passed her a pen in class.

Mr Pike denies removing her coat and touching her hand but does admit making the comment about mistletoe – but insists he was just making a joke.

The teacher also argues that he often hands pens to pupils and that he prompted her to remove her coat by pulling at it because of strict uniform policies and did similarly to other pupils.

Mr Pike, of Kidwelly, west Wales admits telling a pupil that they would break a stool if they sat on it and making a comments about the pupil humming.

He denies nine other allegations of a similar nature and denies that the comments were inappropriate or sexually motivated.

Mr Pike denies unacceptable professional conduct. The hearing in Cardiff continues.

A spokesperson for Carmarthenshire County Council said: “We can confirm he was suspended in December 2016 and dismissed in June 2017.”

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