Go Edge

March 22nd, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Jody O’Callaghan at Stuff reports:

Secrecy surrounding disciplining teachers is under scrutiny by MPs, with a lawyer asking that teachers face as much transparency as doctors and lawyers.

Not unreasonable.

Wellington barrister ’s complaint about the Teachers Council’s blanket suppression on disciplinary decisions was heard by a parliamentary select committee yesterday.

Teachers Council rules state that no-one, media or otherwise, can publish details of a decision on a teacher’s bad conduct. The council argues that that avoids deterring victims, particularly children, from coming forward to give evidence.

But Mr Edgeler said the presumption should always be openness.

“These rules are wrong. It’s the Teachers Council taking upon itself something that Parliament should be doing and has done in other situations.”

The Regulations Review Committee can effectively rescind the regulation made by the Teachers Council. Hopefully the Council will amend its own rules but …

Teachers Council director Peter Lind said: “Changing the rules . . . could have the unintended consequence of people, particularly children, not coming forward to give evidence.”

Oh nonsense. You really think that the 12 year old lid won’t tell their parents about something bad a teacher did because they’re aware of the rules around name suppression that the Teachers Council has?

PPTA president Angela Roberts said the suppression of disciplinary details was to protect vulnerable victims, particularly in small communities.

Oh, yes of course it is. To protect the victims. How about you don’t name the victims, but do name the teachers.

The point Edgeler is making is that a blanket rule is wrong. Sure if the teacher is the sole teacher in a small school of 10 pupils, then you might consider name suppression is necessary to protect the victims. But you don’t need a blanket rule, such as the Council has. Suppression should be the exception – not the rule.

Tags: , ,

16 Responses to “Go Edge”

  1. slightlyright (93 comments) says:

    The whole Council set up reeks of PPTA/NZEI Stalinist oversight, to actually find recent decision you have to delve down 2-3 lawyers, and the link to these decisions is a small HERE on one line, there agenda has always been clear, its good the NZ Public has caught up

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. slightlyright (93 comments) says:

    sorry LAYERS*

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. greenjacket (429 comments) says:

    Why have the Teachers’ Council at all?

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. kowtow (7,864 comments) says:

    ……..as doctors and lawyers?

    They have their own professional bodies overseeing themselves.

    How about totally independant oversight?

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Kelly (27 comments) says:

    So let me get this right please correct me if Im wrong. The unions want CharterPartnership schools available under OIA however the Teachers Council hide their darkest secrets behind a shroud of secrecy for the “protection” of the victim and the unions support this?

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Chris2 (765 comments) says:

    On a related matter, it is not commonly known that when teachers are vetted for a criminal record as part of their Teacher Registration certificate, they are covered by the “Clean Slate” Act. This means that any convictions they have that are more than 7 years old that did not involve imprisonment will be concealed, never to be disclosed.

    Meanwhile, the school nurse and school guidance counsellor and the school social worker are not covered by the Clean Slate Act and every conviction, even (say) shoplifting from 30 years ago, will be disclosed.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Chuck Bird (4,734 comments) says:

    I have no problem with suppression being there for a teacher, a doctor or whoever prior to a finding of guilt. Everyone should be accountable even High Court Judges who do not appear to be.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. F E Smith (3,305 comments) says:

    “even High Court Judges who do not appear to be”

    There are very good reasons for that and those reasons are pretty unassailable. If you have some familiarity with legal and political history the reasons are obvious.

    On topic, I must say that I am impressed by Mr Edgeler’s complaint. Well done, sir!

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    We had a situation where a teacher was eventually removed from their position for inappropriate conduct.
    In the end we refused to participate in the process because they were going to inform the teacher of the names of everyone that came forward!
    The situation that caused this problem in the first place made this an utterly ridiculous condition.

    The school staff were gagged from even mentioning the name of this individual, the whole thing is just a bloody joke.

    Teachers are not royalty and are fast becoming some of the poorest performing professionals you’ll find anywhere, there is much hubris in our current education system that is for damned sure.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. lastmanstanding (1,233 comments) says:

    This problem goes much deeper and covers all sectors. Its all about whistle blowing. As far as I am aware there have not been any action taken as regards the Protected Disclosures Act 2000 since its enactment.
    Why.
    Because as I and others submitted at the time there was NO real protection for a whistle blower. In one of the recent finance company Court cases a senior manager who knew at a very early stage of wrong doing thought about coming forward and blowing the whistle and decided against it and resigned.

    If he had come forward and been protected hundreds of millions of dollars of investors money would have been saved rather than lost.

    Whistle blowers form 50% of the fraud uncovered in the US. The guy that blew the whistle onMadoff ( after many years of trying to get the SEC and others to act) was in NZ recently. He said that without adequate whistle blowing protection all sectors of society at all levels suffer unecessarily.

    Until we get a Gumint with the balls to bring in laws that properly protect genuine ( and I emphasise genuine) whistle blowers we will continue to suffer in many areas.

    And to those who say but what about the vexatious whistle blower. My answer is that if a person blows the whistle deliberately when there is no cause then they must suffer the same fate as the guilty party would have had the whistle blowing been genuine.

    This will stop or at least punish the vexatious.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Chuck Bird (4,734 comments) says:

    “There are very good reasons for that and those reasons are pretty unassailable. If you have some familiarity with legal and political history the reasons are obvious.”

    There are some very good reasons why Judges also should be as accountable as anyone else. They actually are to some degree if we had a Minister of Court with some reading comprehension skills. There needs to be a law change requiring all judges to treat unrepresented litigants fairly and not look after their mates who they drink with at the Northern Club. Justice needs to be seen to be done and all perceived conflicts of interest should be disclosed.

    When I got my complaint back from the Judaical Conduct Commissioner the judge version of events was not accurate. I am not saying the judge was lying but he was inaccurate. The bloody proceeding are not even recorded electronically and the judge could not be bothered recording in writing an important minute/direction.

    The judge did not do his job property and he should be told so by someone senior.

    The Minister of Courts seems to think this is acceptable.

    Court fees have gone up hugely to reflect user pays. I have just written today to the Director Institute of Judicial Studies to find out what training judges get. I will be interested in her reply.

    I am bloody angry paying high Court fees and getting treated in the High Court by some pompous judge with less respect that other judges treat murders, rapists and kiddy fiddlers.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. slijmbal (1,223 comments) says:

    @lastmanstanding

    In a role I currently have I would suggest the whistleblowers act does have some teeth. We have an employee dispute where the organisation is receiving an enormous amount of what are now being proven to be vexatious complaints to everything under the sun – media/government organisations etc. The employee was in a trusted position and basically took copies of pretty much everything in the organisation. We have no ability to get that information away from them because of the whistleblowers act as what they are doing is being represented as whistleblowing. The fact they are abusing the intent of this law does not detract from the fact it does have effects.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. slijmbal (1,223 comments) says:

    Back to subject

    The children are more important than the teachers – the huge lack of transparency is a damning criticism of the current setup.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. rightoverlabour (70 comments) says:

    I am a teacher. We do not need these stupid secrecy laws. Protect victims, definitely. If you behave yourself and act ethically at all times, you have nothing to fear. As for the Teachers’ Council – waste of time, space and money. And don’t bother engaging, if you are a Teachers’ Council stooge, I won’t be entering into that debate.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. UpandComer (517 comments) says:

    This is hilarious. Protect the victims? God these teacher’s council types are transparent idiots.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. HB (290 comments) says:

    I am a teacher also.
    I agree with rightoverlabour and Graeme E – we don’t need the secrecy laws.
    Staff room conversations lead me to think many teachers agree that the Teachers Council is not respected by teachers and we resent them.
    I don’t believe they are doing a good job and wonder how they are accountable? All teachers have to pay a fee to them to be registered (you have to be registered to teach).

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.