Morris says death threat pupils must stay out
A TEACHER subjected to death threats by two of his pupils yesterday thanked Estelle Morris, the education secretary, for intervening in the case after she told his education authority the boys should not be allowed back into the same school.
Steve Taverner, 54, suffered from stress and needed time off work after he was bombarded with hate-filled calls from two boys at the Glyn School in Ewell, Surrey. Teachers at the school yesterday voted to refuse to teach or supervise the boys.
An appeals panel ruled that the boys should be allowed back into the school but on Thursday Ms Morris said that the boys should not be allowed back, even though she has no legal powers to over-rule the panel.
Yesterday Mr Taverner said: “I am extremely relieved that Estelle Morris has intervened into this case and I think credit must be given to her and her advisers for acting so quickly. But I am sorry it took such intense media pressure before anything was done.”
The two 15-year-olds’ advisers said their parents would continue their fight to get them back into Glyn School.
The boys’ parents have been advised by a Lottery-funded organisation called the Communities Empowerment Network, which represented the youths at the appeal panel hearing.
Its director, Gerry German, said they were discussing with solicitors whether to apply to the High Court next week to seek a judicial review of Ms Morris’s “inappropriate intervention, which clearly exceeds her powers”. He said Ms Morris had been “very badly advised”.
The panel’s order that the boys should be allowed to return to the school was “carefully considered”, Mr German said. He said the boys had been “punished enough” and it was time for them to be allowed to return to the school to finish their GCSE studies: “They have offered to apologise before the whole school,” he added.
Surrey County Council said it had met the parents of one of the boys and would be meeting the other’s next week, and was trying to arrange “personal tuition” for the teenagers while the dispute was resolved.
Mr Taverner said: “It brought the whole thing back. I was at the panel for nearly six hours and it was like a character assassination.
“I thought there was no way they could overturn the decision, because they had the facts in front of them.
“Not only had the boys made death threats, but there were similar incidents before. But the panel sent them back.
“It was like I had been knocked out. I was able to stay at school for that week because the boys couldn’t return until we had the written decision from the panel, but I couldn’t stay after that.
“It’s the first time in years that I have been off sick.”
Mr Taverner said the local education authority had taken “very little interest” in the case until Ms Morris ordered officials to act.
He did not think the children would be allowed back to Glyn school again.
“I heard the mother of one of them saying categorically that she wanted him to go back but I can’t see any teacher wanting to teach her son.
“But I don’t bear grudges. I am not looking for my pound of flesh.
“I hope their parents see the light and let them get on with their education. They need help and support through this time.”
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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