NT teacher watchdog to vote on continued secrecy
THE Teacher Registration Board will vote on whether it will release the findings of the secretive misconduct inquiries it holds into the Territory's dodgiest educators.
Board chair Karen Blanchfied wrote to the NT News on Monday saying the board would vote on whether to release redacted inquiry findings.
An NT News and Sunday Territorian investigation revealed the board had secretly rubber-stamped criminals to work in classrooms, including teachers with convictions for violence.
Documents showed the board also dropped inquiries into teachers alleged to have taken drugs with students, sexually groomed students, and physically assaulted students.
The NT News understands the 60 inquiry findings the board will consider releasing include that of a teacher charged and tried with sexually fondling a boy he was babysitting.
The vote will take place on September 20.
He was acquitted but continues to teach at a school in the northern suburbs of Darwin.
Documents show the board deals with allegations ranging from incompetence and bullying to sexual misconduct and physical abuse of students.
Despite inquiry hearings being required to be held in the public, and only if they are in the public interest, the board does not advertise when the hearings are taking place and, unlike South Australia, Victoria and Queensland, does not publish findings of teacher misconduct.
The secrecy surrounding the findings is in stark contrast to other disciplinary boards dealing with professional misconduct in registered professions, such as the Agents Licensing Board, which governs real estate agents, the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal, which governs lawyers and the Racing Commission, which governs bookmakers.
The NT News can further reveal that the board allowed teachers to continue working even in proven cases of violence towards children.
In one case, a woman who was charged with assaulting a minor was later cleared to start working in schools and is now a fully registered teacher.
Board documents show the teacher attacked a girl in the line of a takeaway shop.
Separately, the board also abandoned an investigation into what was described as an allegation of "serious misconduct", involving a teacher assaulting a student in a remote community.
The inquiry was abandoned because of a supposed "great difficulty" in interviewing the student.
A source with knowledge of the investigation said that "great difficulty" was that the community was not near Darwin and the board did not want to pay for a staffer or lawyer to travel there.
Another teacher who works assaulted a student with a scooter at a suburban Darwin school continues to work with children, advertising her services as a private tutor under a pseudonym.