The Department levelled a number of unfounded, yet serious charges against me for misconduct back in 2006.
These charges were eventually dismissed and I was exonerated.
But I feel that I was treated unjustly and I feel the Department should be held to account for their actions.
In my view, the WA Department of Education disciplinary process is little more than institutionalised workplace bullying.
Queries I've made to the DoE regarding inconsistencies, anomalies and irregularities in the way the Code of Conduct provisions are investigated and managed by SID have gone unanswered.
Serious complaints about senior staff in certain schools have been ignored, by both the schools and by the department.
I have been subjected to bullying, threats, intimidation, false and malicious allegations, etc.,
I have found it difficult to do my job properly whilst defending myself against these unfounded accusations, complaints and allegations.
This experience has had a considerable impact on my physical and mental health, welfare, and financial well-being.
And now -
I have been suspended indefinitely without pay pending the outcome of an enquiry into allegations of "misconduct" in my role as a relief teacher with the Education Department.
The suspension order was effective immediately.
About two weeks ago, whilst undertaking a three-week contract at one of our most 'difficult' schools, I became involved in an incident with one of the students in my class.
I had confiscated his iPad for inappropriate use in class, and in retaliation he stole my own personal laptop and ran away with it.
I had to chase the student and to engage in physical contact with the student in order to safely retrieve my laptop.
The student was not hurt in the ensuing scuffle.
The principal and the Faculty head both agreed that given the circumstances my actions were appropriate.
The student in question - who apparently had a long history of disruptive and unruly behaviour - had done the "wrong thing" and "would be suspended".
For the record: the DoE's own Code of Conduct allows for such physical contact under certain conditions.
As far as I was concerned I had not breached these conditions.
I believed I was entitled to take reasonable steps to secure my personal property against possible vandalism and irreparable damage, and at the same time restore order to the classroom.
The very next day, I was advised by the principal that my contract would be terminated.
Apparently one of the students in the class had videoed the incident in question on his mobile phone, passed it onto the student directly involved in the incident, who then passed it I believe onto SID via his mother.
SID overrode the principal's decision to retain my services, I was virtually marched off the premises, and SID have now prevented me from seeking and obtaining any work at all anywhere.
Both the school in question - and the SID - refuse to provide me with for example a copy of their respective policies regarding the use of mobiles devices and social media by students, both of which have obvious relevance on two counts to any future defence.
Where is the procedural fairness?
As I'm a contract teacher, if I can't work, I don't get paid.
I've asked the department to lift the ban so I can work, but they refuse.
I have provided them with a submission and a statement In my own defence.
But the department won't commit to a time in which to complete their investigation.
The last time I was investigated, it took the department almost 2˝ years to complete the process.
I was subsequently exonerated of all of the charges - but I was not compensated.
We need to fight for change in -
1) the way WA public schools manage behavioural issues at the school level;
2) workplace bullying - often in relation to concerns and issues about / related to student behaviour management;
3) the way the department of education manage the complaints and investigations process.
I'm a very reluctant 'crusader'.
But this latest episode is beyond the pale.
I need your support.
20 June 2013