'Strip' teacher given reprimand

A SUPPLY teacher who stripped to his waist in front of a class of teenagers in Suffolk has been found guilty of serious misconduct.

Simon Tomlinson

A SUPPLY teacher who stripped to his waist in front of a class of teenagers in Suffolk has been found guilty of serious misconduct.

Martin Rouse, 57, took off his shirt in an “ill-considered attempt” to control 30 raucous 14-year-olds at Sudbury Upper School in June last year.

A video of his actions appeared on YouTube after one of his pupils recorded the 45-second strip on his mobile phone.

Rouse was also found guilty of threatening to throw a pupil out of the window if he did not stop misbehaving.

A General Teaching Council (GTC) hearing in Birmingham on Thursday found Rouse guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and handed him a reprimand which will stay on his record for two years.

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GTC chairman Stephen Viner said: “Mr Rouse removed his shirt in the classroom which was a clear breach of the standards of propriety expected of the profession. His actions could have led to the class becoming dangerously out of control.

“We are satisfied that Mr Rouse did not intend to throw a pupil out of the window and may have meant the words used by him as an attempt to humour and engage pupils.

“Nevertheless, the words used were capable of and may have been viewed as a threat by some of the pupils in the class.”

Rouse, of Thetford, Norfolk, was sacked from the school after a colleague in the classroom reported him to the headmaster.

He can continue working as a teacher, but must declare his reprimand when applying for jobs. He has a right of appeal to the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court within 28 days.

Mr Viner said the GTC had considered letting Rouse off, but decided that would not be in the interests of “maintaining public confidence in the profession”.

He added: “We are satisfied that Mr Rouse behaved inappropriately in removing his shirt in front of pupils. As far we are aware, these were isolated incidents which resulted from an ill-considered attempt to control the class.

“Mr Rouse has demonstrated some insight into his failings. As far as we can ascertain, Mr Rouse has a previous good history and this is supported by a reference from a supply agency for whom he worked successfully for 2 years.”