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Ex-headteacher reprimanded for conduct

PUBLISHED: 06:18 10 November 2007 | UPDATED: 18:21 26 February 2010

A FORMER headteacher of a Colchester secondary school who used a glass of water to flatten a pupil's David Beckham-style Mohican hair cut has been found guilty of unprofessional conduct.

A FORMER headteacher of a Colchester secondary school who used a glass of water to flatten a pupil's David Beckham-style Mohican hair cut has been found guilty of unprofessional conduct.

A General Teaching Council panel issued an official reprimand, the lowest sanction available, to Russell Moon after ruling that the head had "carefully" poured the liquid over the boy's hair to intimidate him.

The panel's chair, Nicola Watson, said the teacher's actions at the Philip Morant School in 2002 were "wholly unnecessary'.

Finding Mr Moon guilty of four allegations and clearing him of two others, the committee found that he had patted down the youngster's hairstyle, which was in breach of the school rules.

Issuing the ruling at the GTC's offices in Birmingham, Ms Watson told the teacher: "The matter could have been dealt with in a less intimidating and less aggressive manner.

"The committee believe that Mr Moon intended to intimidate and undermine the pupil.

"The committee believe the pupil should have been left to rearrange his own hair.'

Mr Moon was also found guilty of making an inappropriate comment to another pupil involved in a sit-in at Philip Morant, and of using a fellow staff member's health issues to try to justify his suspension.

Before issuing a reprimand, which will stay on the GTC's register of teachers for two years, Ms Watson said the punishment was a "proportionate sanction', given Mr Moon's insight into the shortcomings of his behaviour and would allow him to continue to make a valuable contribution to education.

Mr Moon told the panel in October that he had used a small amount of water "very carefully' to wash gel out of the youngster's spiked hair.

The hearing was told that neither the boy, referred to during the proceedings as Pupil A, nor his parents had made a complaint about the incident.

Until his suspension in February 2005, Mr Moon had not been the subject of any disciplinary sanctions during a 27-year career.

The head agreed to terminate his employment at Philip Morant in May 2005 by mutual agreement and accept a payment of £50,000.

Speaking after he was reprimanded, Mr Moon maintained that his actions had not intimidated Pupil A.

The former headmaster told reporters: "I am very relieved that at long last a judgment has been made and I can get on with my life and career.

"The GTC judged that it was important to allow me to continue to make a valuable contribution to education.

"I can't help wondering if those people at the school who went to such lengths to get rid of me are now content.

"Living through this has been the most gruelling experience of my life.'

Mr Moon added that the case raised serious questions about the GTC and the way the body works.

"I never intended to cause any harm or to intimidate the pupil,' he added. "He gave permission and was happy and there was no complaint at the time by him.'

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