This item has been extracted from an article in the Daily Mail printed on the 13th July 2011
A teacher falsely accused of assaulting a disruptive pupil won his battle to clear his name yesterday.
Despite 33 years of unblemished service, Ronnie Lane was sacked after the 15-year-old claimed the arts teacher had seized his arm and left him with scratch marks.
School chiefs rejected Mr Lane’s defence that he simply touched the boy’s arm while asking him to let go of a classmate’s painting.
Yesterday an employment tribunal backed Mr Lane’s version of events, ruling he had been unfairly dismissed two years ago.
The 56-year-old produced evidence from a senior retired police officer indicating the boy’s injuries had been self inflicted.
His victory follows the publication of shock figures that show one in four school staff has been the subject of false allegations by pupils.
Mr Lane was teaching art to a class of 20 GCSE students at West Derby School in Liverpool when the boy – identified only as Student J – started disrupting the lesson.
When J grabbed another pupil’s coursework, Mr Lane told the tribunal he placed his hand on J’s wrist to take it, at which the teenager replied: ‘Get off or I’ll stab your eye out.’
He went to fetch another teacher, but a few minutes later J, who has special needs, alleged that scratch marks on his arm had been left by Mr Lane’s fingernails.
He was suspended, and following a number of hearings, including an unsuccessful appeal, sacked for gross misconduct. But later one pupil came forward to say he saw J injure himself.
Giving evidence at the tribunal, the witness said: ‘He was digging his left hand into his right arm and applying pressure to his arm.
‘Mr Lane did touch him but it was just a limp-wristed gesture.’
Yesterday the tribunal upheld the married teacher’s claims for both unfair and wrongful dismissal. Its detailed findings will be published later, and a further hearing will be held to determine compensation.
Geoff Scargill, his Association of Teachers and Lecturers representative, said: ‘Ronnie is, of course, pleased with the judgment and is waiting to read the details.’
Andy Peart, head of legal and member services at the ATL, said: ‘We are delighted that Mr Lane has been vindicated. The employment tribunal judgment was a victory for justice.
‘The school treated Mr Lane grossly unfairly despite a 33-year unblemished record teaching there and have blighted his teaching career. We hope the compensation takes this into account when the employment tribunal meets this later this year.’