A Northland deputy principal who has admitted sexually abusing pupils was flagged as a potential predator in 1999 as a student teacher but signed off as suitable anyway.
Despite a further warning in 2009 – that time by police – he was allowed to continue as a teacher for 11 years until his arrest last month.
Concerns about James Parker were first lodged with the Teachers’ Council when he was a provisional teacher, having newly started in the profession.
Parker pleaded guilty in Kaitaia District Court this week to 49 charges of indecent assault, performing an indecent act and of unlawful sexual connection.
The attacks, on boys aged under 16, occurred over nearly eight years at Pamapuria School.
A decade later police received a complaint from a child via a parent and investigated Parker.
They could not gather enough evidence at the time to prosecute Parker and instead wrote to the school to alert the board of trustees about concerns.
However, the board did not act on the letter, did not advise the Education Review Office and did not advise the Teachers’ Council.
What a sad preventable case.
I understand that Parker was the staff rep on the Board of Trustees, which may have discouraged their discussing the issue, and that most of the current Board were not there at the time of the Police letter. The principal has to take the bulk of the blame for not acting on it, and making sure the new Board members were aware of the issue.