Stutton: Teacher convicted of pupil assault hopes to teach again

STUTTON: A teacher convicted of assaulting an unruly pupil today said he hopes to teach again after his professional body decided against banning him.

Michael Becker, of Manningtree Road, Stutton, also told of the nightmare he has endured since forcibly ejecting the special needs pupil for disrupting and upsetting others.

Following a case which provoked a national debate, Ipswich magistrates convicted the 63-year-old of battery in October 2009 after he denied assaulting the child on November 10, 2008.

However, the General Teaching Council (GTC) has now given Mr Becker the all-clear to teach again.

It decided against barring him from the classroom and has issued a reprimand which will stay on the teaching register for two years.

The GTC said it was in the public interest for a teacher of Mr Becker’s calibre to continue to teach.

Mr Becker said: “Thank goodness common sense has prevailed. This had gone on for far too long. It has been terrible. It put my wife and I through hell.

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“It was all so stupid. It was all about removing a pupil who was misbehaving. It was a very difficult time for us, but we have had marvellous support. In the mail, there were about 900 letters of support and only four against me.

“Lots of my old colleagues, parents and staff at the school sent letters, supporting us and wishing us well.

“I love teaching. Hopefully if I can, I will do it again, but don’t forget I have got a criminal record.

“I get little tasters of it when my grandchildren come round and that’s when I realise that it has always been in my blood.

“That’s what’s rekindled the thought of maybe doing a bit of part-time work with kids, maybe even in just a charitable way by volunteering.

“Teaching is your vocation. To one day arrive and be told you can’t do it for removing a pupil who was disrupting others is devastating.”

Mr Becker’s wife of 25 years, Ilona, said: “I’m really glad it is over. It has been a big cloud hanging over our heads. Now we can get on with leading our lives again.

“Anyone who knows Michael would know he would never have deliberately assaulted a pupil.”

Although the events of 2008 have cast a shadow over Mr Becker’s good name, he accepts things could have been worse.

He added: “You can’t explain it because it chokes you. Luckily for me the incident occurred towards the end of my career.”

Mr Becker, who ran a school band for 20 years which used to raise money for charity, was fined �1,500 by Ipswich magistrates and ordered to pay more than �1,800 in costs following his conviction.

He removed the disruptive pupil from his class by getting hold of the waistband of the child’s trousers and the back of his sweatshirt, lifting him up, and then placing him in a store room.

n What do you think about Mr Becker’s case? Write to Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.