Cambridge school teacher reprimanded for racist remark

He told students he didn’t like Jews, came out with racist remark against Obama

25th July 2011: A Cambridge school teacher has been guilty of “unacceptable professional conduct” after he told students he didn’t like Jews and came out with a racist remark about US President Barack Obama. The teacher has, however, escaped a teaching ban.
Michael Webb was teaching a revision class at the Cambridge Centre for Sixth-form Studies (CCSS).

The General Teaching Council found him guilty of unacceptable professional conduct. In fact, the council’s Professional Conduct Committee issued a reprimand. It will remain on his professional registration for two years. But, did not ban or place his services under suspension.

Webb has already been dismissed by the school.

The committee came to the conclusion that during a GCSE maths revision class on April 9, 2009, Webb came out with “inappropriate comments suggestive of undermining the dignity of those of particular racial origins”. It found out hat the teacher had used the words he didn’t like Jews, and called Barack Obama a ‘f****** n*****’.

A parent, subsequently, complained to the school.

CCSS vice-principal Denise Hammersley said Webb was not a permanent member of staff and employed him through an agency.”

She added Acting on a parent’s complaint then principal Neil Roskilly interviewed him and then formally dismissed him from service. The General Teaching Council too was informed as the school dealt with the matter immediately.

At the hearing, committee chairman Jason Whyborn said having found that the comments were made, they thought these were inappropriate, particularly in the context of a maths revision class. They either did, or were likely to undermine the dignity of those of particular racial origins.    

Webb’s conduct fell short of the standard expected of a registered teacher and was behaviour which involved a breach of the standards of propriety expected of the profession.

The language used by Webb was plainly inappropriate but particularly so given that it was wholly unconnected to the lesson he was teaching and, by his own admission, caused upset to a pupil.

Rather than heeding this distress, he dismissed her response as emotional blackmail.

But taking into consideration Webb’s apology and the fact that this was an isolated incident during a long and unblemished career, the committee considered a reprimand was the appropriate punishment.

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