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Drug charge over summer, suspended, prospects?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Jiimmii, Sep 5, 2016.

  1. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    @Jiimmii There's an updated version of the document @grumpydogwoman linked here. You should read it, although I'm afraid it will not make happy reading for you. The gist of it is that accepting a caution for possession of a Class A drug is likely to result in a prohibition order being issued. 'Likely to' but not necessarily, the discipline panel will take into account "the nature and gravity of the offence, its circumstances and any mitigating circumstances...".

    Your union needs to give you proper legal advice on this. Some of things the union rep has told you seem surprising to me. Not telling your employer? Really, when discovered that simply makes your position more worse. Honesty and transparency will be mitigating factors both in the school's decision and, should it come to it, a formal panel considering prohibition.

    Does the union rep have any reason to believe that if you accepted a Settlement Agreement from the school ("taking 3 months wages and resigning right now to make the whole investigation go away, to get out of my school's hair") they wouldn't refer you to the teacher discipline panel? Heads have statutory duties to make referrals. In my school I can't imagine we would consider for one minute paying 3 months salary to a teacher cautioned for possession of a Class A drug.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2016
  2. ldnsenco

    ldnsenco Occasional commenter

    I agree with all of the above. I'd love to sound sympathetic but really, what sensible professional with a duty of care takes drugs? I really feel like anyone who takes drugs is so misguided.
    It's so careless, immature and stupid. Especially in the teaching profession but I have a zero tolerance policy. Craziness
  3. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    I know you haven't come on here for us to be moralistic and judge but you - silly - boy!

    Drug taking is common (even if not requisite) at festivals and nightclubs and some see it as 'part of the experience.' (I enjoy both festivals and clubs although personally do not feel the need to take anything other than a few pints!)

    Ecstasy - some would see it as less harmful than alcohol. Others would cite Leah Betts and the fact that some studies link it to long term issues with depression etc. It certainly would not be a wise drug to take at a weekend and have to fight through a midweek serotonin crash when teaching! Either way its Class A. You could at worst have got time for possession!

    Even if you DID see it as acceptable, your best option when asked by the police may have been to lie. (from a personal if not moral point of view.)

    Thinking that the fact it happened in Wales is mitigating is utterly laughable. So what?!

    From a financial and career point of view, I would perhaps wait it out and see what happens, you still get paid when suspended! Doing supply while suspended may make things worse! If the school offer a few months pay in return for your resignation I would take it.

    A sympathetic head MAY give you the benefit of the doubt if you are a great teacher etc. (I know of a school that employed a known ex convict!) But if you want to retain the hedonism and the E, teaching is not the right career for you!
    rachelpaula008, Laphroig and DYNAMO67 like this.
  4. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    The school couldn't really give you a Settlement Agreement (part of which is usually a bland reference).

    Any new educational institution (including supply agencies) is going to want a reference and school can't, in good conscience, provide one. And the caution would be disclosed by DBS. Class A!

    You were playing with fire and you got burned, I'm afraid.
  5. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    Unfortunately for you, there will be lasting consequences to this, and not just with your career.

    Overseas travel outside Europe could also be affected, particularly if you intend to visit the US - the US ESTA scheme will not be available to you, meaning you will have to apply for a full US visa at a cost of $160, and attend an interview at the US Embassy in London.

    Notwithstanding this, the facts that you have been a) arrested and b) cautioned for a c) drugs related offence mean that the chances of you then being given a visa are virtually nil.
  6. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Employing someone with a caution is at the HT's discretion, but with safeguarding being so paramount a lot of them won't. Agencies will say a lot of things to get people on their books.
  7. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    Sorry but I don't think you will get a job in another school; you will be considered too much of a liability. You broke the Law ( and were caught) it was never going to end well. What a pity that you risked your long term future career prospects for such short term immediate gratification at this festival.
    I too am very surprised at the 3 months wages offer ( is this actually on the table?) , how reliable is your friend's info regarding this. You really need a plan B.
    Good luck with whatever else you plan to do.
    PS if you are applying for teaching jobs I believe that you must inform your HT.
    Lara mfl 05 and slingshotsally like this.
  8. TheOtherHalf1

    TheOtherHalf1 New commenter

    There is enough very good advice and comments above. Move on quickly and rebuild your life.
    Lara mfl 05 and yodaami2 like this.
  9. jago123

    jago123 Established commenter

    I'm sorry that you have fallen into this situation, however, as a teacher, you should have known better whether or not you was on holiday.

    It's good that you are honest about this and not prepared to hide it, but you've realistically shot yourself in the foot.
    1) Are you 'close friends' with the AHT that you texted?
    Either way, the AHT has a duty to inform the HT once it becomes their common knowledge because if it comes out that the AHT was hiding this too, he would seriously risk his job and would probably face dismissal.

    If you want my honest opinion, it could go 50/50.
    It could spring into your favour if the the HT and LA HR Rep deem it necessary not take it further than a written warning because you have never committed such an offence before, however, it would be a very big risk to keep you. You've broke the law. There is nothing else to it.
    How can a HT have full confidence in this not repeating again? You have a responsibility for the children in your care.

    I think for your sake now, I would take this opportunity whilst you are still receiving an income to start looking for a different career that does not involve children or a DBS check for that matter.
    You'll find it harder if you get dismissed, got no income, miss your mortgage and other bill payments and with a gap in employment, your chances of employability will decrease.
  10. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Indeed it will. You cannot take on another job while still employed. Agencies cannot employ you while you are still employed.

    And you certainly won't get another teaching post while you are suspended. What precisely are you planning to tell the person who shows you round? "Oh I think you should know, I am currently suspended from my post because I was given a caution for possession of class A drugs a few weeks ago,but am looking to do some work because I'm bored at home. Can I come and teach in your school?" It isn't going to work is it?

    Given a general definition of 'mitigating factors' is: any information or evidence presented to the court regarding the defendant or the circumstances of the crime that might result in reduced charges or a lesser sentence. I wonder which of the above, if any, actually fit into that category.
    Possibly on the fact it was your first offence (Hmmm might work in law, but I doubt your head would believe it or care.)
    I freely admit to being a middle aged fuddy duddy, as are many HTs, but I would never have thought of FOUR ecstasy tablets as being a small amount.
    The rest are just not mitigating factors at all.

    But I'd so love to be there if you had to argue in court that they should go easy on you because you were in Wales!

  11. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    And it isn't even a matter of going to court!

    You accepted a caution so you have admitted guilt. It was Class A. Any panel is almost bound to pass a Prohibition Order. Bringing the profession into disrepute. That's what it's called. Doesn't matter what my view is on E. That's the position.

    The more I look into this the more I think your teaching career is toast.
    needabreak and Dragonlady30 like this.
  12. jago123

    jago123 Established commenter

    'Sympathetic and progressing head'??

    You broke the law, what sympathy do you expect?

    When it comes to recruitment, you get two candidates shortlisted to final two. For this scenario, you are candidate A , the other is Candidate B

    Candidate A: Good teacher and is achieving results from their classes, however, the DBS check confirmed that they committed a very serious crime that inevitably can become a liability.

    Candidate B: Good teacher, achieves great results from their classes, a promising candidate who has the capability to step up to SLT in the future.

    Which one would you choose?

    I can assure you a HT in their right mind would select Candidate B.

    They can't take the risk
  13. RedQuilt

    RedQuilt Star commenter

    Forgive me if I'm wrong but wouldn't the first thing a supply agency attend to be a new DBS? I can't imagine supply being successful with the offense committed by the OP listed on it.
    needabreak likes this.
  14. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    OP, I know of one person in Northwest England, who was caught smuggling a LOT of canabis in Italy in mid 80's. That person was convicted and jailed for over a year. After that he got a degree, PGCE and taught on supply for 20yrs.

    But times have changed. That was before DBS.

    Everyone here has stated what you can't do - Going to America, teaching in Primary schools, secondary schools, etc.

    The important thing to remember is that you have a lot of opportunities still open to you.

    1. That deposit you have saved for a mortgage, could be used to get you another profession.

    - plumber
    - electrician
    - builder
    - project manager
    - stone mason
    - engineering

    Some jobs have random drugs tests - one of my friends worked for BAE and they'd just ask for samples, at whatever point in the day.

    You could try to get another job in teaching- I wouldn't waste my time. Consider it a opportunity to leave the marking, OFSTED and SIMS behind.

  15. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Oh dear. Unfortinately as a teacher dealing with young impressionable minds you really have to be 'squeaky-clean'. Even in your 'free-time'. If it had been years ago before you had started your career possibly might have been different. However as these and others have said
    Sorry, you will pay a high price for that mistake.
    Hopefully you can move on and use that experience.
    ldnsenco and slingshotsally like this.
  16. thegeologist

    thegeologist Occasional commenter

    @Jiimmii Firstly, I am not going to say anything negative regarding the situation. A lot of people may have done things which could have led them to being in trouble this way, you were just unlucky.

    But, it might be the best thing that has ever happened to you, you might not think it now, but it could well have been. Cancel the mortgage if necessary, it might set you back a few years, but you could set up as a tradesman as @slingshotsally has identified. In a strange way some people would give their right arm to be in a position to leave teaching, it is cruel but it might save you lots of stress in the future and you could probably earn a lot more money.

    I have been in a position where I once wrote off a company Landrover in the Shetlands as an intern, it ruined my name in the company I really wanted to work and part of the industry I wanted to work in. So I know having an opportunity taken away is not nice. However, I'll leave you with this, my friend was arrested and imprisoned for supply of class B/A drugs about 15-20 years ago, yes he can't go to America, but it has not gone against him. He is a reformed person, became a drug worker and is now training to be a nurse. It can be done.

    Hope you feel ok
  17. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    Many of us have done things in our youth, which, had we been caught, might well have resulted in a criminal record. If this offence happened 20 years ago, or when you were a teenager, then perhaps some Heads might be prepared to overlook it, if you were the best person for that position. However, it happened just a few weeks ago. You are a teacher working with vulnerable and impressionable children. In my opinion this shows a lack of judgement and common sense. It also shows a cavalier attitude to the law - especially it being a Class A drug. I would not want you teaching a child of mine and in my opinion you should be looking for alternative employment.
  18. SqMandes

    SqMandes New commenter

    Not that it matters now - but your current school would have found out in due course when your DBS came up for renewal (every three or five years?). So keeping quiet about it could have been worse in the long run.
  19. nernstlaw

    nernstlaw New commenter

    I can't really add to the discussion or be sympathetic.....stupidity! career ending stupidity.
  20. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    On a positive note you only got a caution; could have been much worse. Your supplier/ dealer is likely to get much worse. You were open and honest with the police about his/ her identity?

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