Teacher's career in tatters

A TEACHER who ended up with a criminal record after ejecting a pupil from a classroom said the conviction had “almost certainly” finished his 38-year career.

A TEACHER who ended up with a criminal record after ejecting a pupil from a classroom said the conviction had “almost certainly” finished his 38-year career.

Michael Becker, 62, was fined �1,500 at Ipswich Magistrates' Court yesterday where he was also ordered to pay more than �1,800 in costs after being found guilty of using unreasonable force in removing the special needs pupil at an earlier trial.

Becker, who lives in Stutton, had been teaching at the Suffolk school for more than 30 years before the incident in November last year and had been suspended on full pay.

He now faces a school disciplinary panel and said his teaching was “almost certainly” at an end, although he had yet to decide whether he will appeal the verdict.


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During his trial, the court heard that the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had persisted in telling a “racist” joke and disrupting his classmates, leading to Becker's intervention.

In evidence, he told the magistrates that after repeatedly asking the boy to stop misbehaving, he picked him up by his belt and collar and carried him out of the classroom, putting him down inside a cupboard.

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But after a three day trial, the magistrates found him guilty, ruling that the force he had used was “unreasonable”.

In handing out his sentence yesterday, chairman of the bench Peter Page told Becker that his actions had taken him “perilously close” to the custodial sentence threshold.

He said: “We were told at trial that after investigating the incident the police were minded to deal with the matter by means of a caution. You declined that option.

“Whatever the extent of your knowledge, your description of the child's behaviour as 'racist' is ill conceived.”

Mr Page said that Becker's actions in leaving the school after the incident without telling the head teacher did him “little credit” and bringing it to the attention of the authorities immediately would have stood him in greater stead.

He added: “You have, by a serious error of judgement, already brought upon yourself more punishment than this court could impose.”

However, he did say that Becker's contribution to education “over many years” could not be “overstated”.

Speaking outside the court after the sentence was passed, Becker said he was sorry for the child, who did not suffer any lasting injuries but has been plagued by nightmares for many months.

Becker said: “I'm very, very sorry for the child for what happened.”

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