17 Oct 2017

'Reckless' teacher censured over lack of seatbelts

7:28 pm on 17 October 2017

A teacher who drove students without seatbelts and took them kayaking without lifejackets was reckless, the Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal says

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Photo: 123rf

The tribunal said Stuart Albery set a bad example for his students and was guilty of serious misconduct.ALBREY

The tribunal's report said Mr Albrey took a group of four Year 13 physical education students kayaking on a local river in March 2016.

He had expected one of the students would have a full drivers licence by the time of the trip, but they did not.

The report said Mr Albrey drove three of the students to the river on the front bench seat of his ute, where they did not have seatbelts.

At the river, the teacher had not organised life jackets, and left the students unattended while he went to his home nearby to change his socks.

The report said the river had a gentle flow and was not deep. It said there was little chance the students would be unable to exit their kayaks and wade to shore if they fell out.

However, the students were concerned by their teachers' absence and the parents of three of the students later complained to the school.

The tribunal said the teachers' decision to drive the students without seatbelts was alarming and reckless.

"As well as putting the welfare of his students at risk, the respondent set a very poor example to these young people. They reported feeling uncomfortable but felt impelled to comply.

"He flouted a basic law in this country and reinforced a known misapprehension of young people that they are bullet-proof."

The tribunal said it found the man's attitude to the use of lifejackets equally disturbing.

It said the river was low and not flowing fast, but the lack of lifejackets could have had an adverse effect on the students' well-being and on their learning by ignoring the safety aspects of outdoor education.

The report said the man had not filed a risk assessment for the trip.

"The charge of serious misconduct is therefore fully established," the tribunal said.

It ordered the man to enrol in a risk management course, which he has since completed.