David Benson-Pope in Parliament last year said that “I have not been guilty of, or involved in, any inappropriate behaviour in my 24 years as a secondary school teacher. As well, I am not aware of any complaint of any kind.”
Today we learn that in 1997 the then principal of Bayfield High School did inform Benson-Pope about complaints from parents that he burst into female dormitories, and a shower block, while 14-year-old girls were in various states of undress.
Once again Benson-Pope is in serious trouble – not so much for what he did as a teacher but for how he has handled the issue as an MP.
We saw this again with his response to the latest allegations – he labelled them as nonsense which is clearly designed to imply the girls were making it up. However we learn there was a formal complaint which led to the school policy being changed to make it explicit that teachers should not do what Benson-Pope did.
And when it comes out there was a formal complaint DBP’s spinners suggest that he was never told about it. Hello you really think that a school would hear a complaint about a teacher, change its policy on such situations to stop a repeat, and never ever mention the complaint to the teacher.
Even now after the former principal has stated he did tell DBP, his spokesperson is suggesting the principal is lying.
The next line of defence is that he can’t recall. I doubt many teachers would say that you would forget a formal complaint about you – especially one within the last eight years. Helen Clark of course backs up his I can not recall defence.
As I said two days ago that I thought these latest allegations would mean curtains for DBP and indeed he may be sacked today before question time. Clark now has the grounds she needs being that he misled her personally (Helen regards this as far worse than misleading the country 🙂
And if DBP is sacked it will not be for what he did or did not do as a teacher. But for the way he conducted himself over this whole issue with lies, leaks, attacks on victims etc.
UPDATE: John Armstrong agrees with me saying ” The Prime Minister now has little option but to cut her losses and sack David Benson-Pope”