Monday, July 15, 2024

Serious misconduct by local high school teacher revealed

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TEACHER NO MORE: Pakuranga College dean Wayne Mackay has had his teaching registration cancelled following serious misconduct involving a female colleague. Photo

A local high school teacher has been censured for serious misconduct involving a female colleague and has had his teaching registration cancelled.

The decision was delivered by the NZ Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal following a long history and stems from charges relating to events in 2012.

The decision, made in December 2016, found Pakuranga College teacher Wayne Glynn MacKay, assaulted another teacher (her name is suppressed) by placing his hand between her legs and/or pulling underwear to one side and touching her genitals.

He was also found to have brought discredit to the profession by referring to her breast size.

Pakuranga College principal Michael Williams told the Times it was unfortunate that it has taken so long for the issue to proceed through the Education Council Disciplinary process.

“The incident occurred in 2012, over five years ago.

“We were extremely disappointed in Mr MacKay’s behaviour and the school took immediate action, as would any responsible employer.”

He said it was clear that this was an isolated incident and students were not involved or at risk.

“At Pakuranga College we pride ourselves on providing a safe and supportive environment for all staff and will continue to support those affected by this incident.”

Mr MacKay had been newly appointed as a dean in late 2011 and he and the victim came to share an office. Evidence to the Complaints Assessment Committee heard she became exposed to more of his “overly familiar behaviour”. She felt he was becoming “domineering towards me”. She also said she considered his behaviour towards her became more overtly sexualised, “frequently blatantly looking me over”.

Another witness gave evidence of the victim complaining prior to the incident –  which occurred on February 29, 2012 at a parents evening – that Mr MacKay was “really intense” and “too familiar” and that she did not feel comfortable being in a small office with him.

Among those giving evidence to the tribunal was Mr Mackay’s wife – also a teacher at the school –  who said she felt the victim was “sexually interested in her husband”.

Mr MacKay – who emigrated to New Zealand from South Africa in 2001, insisted in his evidence the complainant had grabbed his hand and pushed it down. He said the other teacher arrived on the evening in question wearing a dress that in his opinion was not appropriate for a meeting with parents. The tribunal has since seen the dress and disagreed.

The tribunal also heard Mr MacKay faced a prosecution in South Africa to do with allegations he had tried to kiss a student and tried to touch her leg. He said he was subsequently acquitted of related charges, although fuller details were not available.

The tribunal said it preferred the evidence of the victim “and concludes that the evidence in its totality establishes that the events in the [place in question] more probably than not happened as she alleges”.

“It is necessary to note that the tribunal accepts the evidence which came from several witnesses that there was somewhat sexualised and boundary-blurring atmosphere in some aspects of the life of the school as to language and behaviour. Mr MacKay participated in this.”

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