RE teacher struck off for sectarianism, sex and Hitler lessons—(The Scotsman)

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The Scotsman


A RELIGIOUS education teacher who gave pupils graphic advice on sex and showed others a sectarian Nazi video has been banned from teaching.

Stephen McInally, 47, was dismissed from Vale of Leven Academy in West Dunbartonshire in July 2008, after showing an internet clip of the Hitler biopic Downfall with anti-Catholic subtitles.

He had already been given a final written warning after having discussions about sexual technique with fourth-year pupils at the Alexandria secondary the previous year.

The disciplinary sub-committee of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) yesterday unanimously decided both incidents warranted being struck off the teaching register.

It means that, under reciprocal agreements with teaching councils in the rest of the UK, The ruling prevents him teaching anywhere in the UK.

The GTCS panel also decided to recommended to the Scottish Government that Mr McInally’s name be placed on the list of those disqualified from working with children under the Protection of Children Act.

Mr McInally showed a film spoof from the video-sharing website YouTube. Entitled Last Day of the Transfer Window at Ibrox, it was a clip from Downfall to which subtitles referring to Rangers players had been added, It contained numerous swear words, bad language and derogatory references to Catholics.

He was taking a Higher English class on the George Orwell novel Nineteen Eighty-Four on behalf of an absent colleague.

Mr McInally said he had showed the clip to demonstrate how dictators treated people, but was not “technically adept” enough to remove the subtitles and had turned it off before the end because half the class was laughing.

He said: “It seems silly in the cold light of day but I didn’t recall all of the language in it.”

Mr McInally, who said a Rangers-supporting friend sent him the clip the previous night, admitted he had shown poor judgment. However, he argued he was not in his right frame of mind as he was on medication at the time for depression.

GTCS lawyer Robbie Burnett said Mr McInally’s language regarding sexual acts had been “inappropriate in any circumstances in the context of a class”.

He said showing the clip and using such frank language about sex would be seen as “disgraceful” and “reprehensible” by other members of the profession.

The video incident came to light after a second-year pupil, who was not in the class, mentioned it to a parent who complained to the council.

GTCS sub-committee convener James Thewliss said the panel did not accept Mr McInally’s defence that the comments were linked to the lesson he was teaching and that the video had been used to demonstrate dictatorships.

A spokeswoman for West Dunbartonshire Council said: “We fully support the decision made by the GTCS.

“As soon as this allegation was made the teacher in question was immediately suspended. We do not tolerate sectarianism in any shape or form.”

Scottish Parent Teacher Council information officer Eleanor Coner also supported the decision. She said: “The General Teaching Council does not make this kind of decision lightly.”

The full article contains 519 words and appears in The Scotsman newspaper.