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'Toilet' game teacher struck off

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 17/09/2016

A first-year teacher who played bullrush with pupils, tickled them and played a game called "toilet" with them on his lap has been struck off.

Steven David Elms started teaching at Te Kuiti Primary School in 2014 but by the end of the first term it was perceived he was overfamiliar with the children, the New Zealand Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal says in a recent decision.

Mr Elms was accused of tickling, hugging and playing bullrush with the students.

He was also accused of playing a game called "toilet", which involved sitting children on his lap, and being overly familiar by massaging the shoulders of a female colleague without checking if it was OK first.

Staff noted his pants would sag, exposing his backside and was repeatedly told to pull his pants up.

Police investigated an incident, but didn't lay charges, where it was alleged he picked up a student and touched their genitals.

The report says Mr Elms did not like being directed or corrected and had suggested he was more experienced than other staff.

Mr Elms denied accusations of kissing a child on the forehead and touching any genital areas.

He described his play as "rough-housing" and said that he would hug students who were upset or needed cheering up.

One person's fun or enjoyment could be perceived differently by others, he said.

However, he agreed the acts were likely to discredit the profession, he was guilty of serious misconduct and deregistration was appropriate.

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