Tearful teacher tells of 'racist' abuse

A BLACK teacher has broken down in tears as he told a tribunal he was a victim of “racism, abuse and persecution” at his Essex school.

Elliot Furniss

A BLACK teacher has broken down in tears as he told a tribunal he was a victim of “racism, abuse and persecution” at his Essex school.

Dr Emmanuel Forson, 46, was working as a maths teacher at the Harwich School and told an employment tribunal that he was regularly taunted and racially abused by pupils in his classes but felt unsupported by senior staff when he reported the instances.

The tribunal, held in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, heard that Dr Forson was suspended in November last year and has now been dismissed - but he claims he has been unfairly dismissed and has been the subject of racial discrimination.

Dr Forson, from Ghana, was overcome with emotions as he read his testimony to the tribunal yesterday afternoon, and the hearing was adjourned for the day.

He had earlier explained that he had tried to use the correct procedures to deal with the unruly and, at times, racist behaviour of some of his pupils, but claims when he asked for the backing of the senior management team at the school he was let down.

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Dr Forson, who is representing himself, said: “It appears that the Harwich School has no concept of racism in school. In spring 2006 a male student had drawn a monkey during a class and said 'this is you'.

“No information was communicated to me nor was any information placed on my file. I was given no direct support or feedback and it was not documented.”

Dr Forson, a father of two, explained that he had also been threatened and grabbed around the neck by pupils on other occasions.

He explained that he had issued students with a series of disciplinary forms to bring the behaviour to light, but was ordered to hand out less by headteacher Nigel Mountford as he was giving them out “like confetti”.

Dr Forson said it was part of a “campaign of persistent bullying” against him and accused Mr Mountford of later handing him a “first and final warning” that went against school disciplinary procedure.

He said: “How can a school profess a multi-cultural approach but, when faced with a real person, just get rid of him?

“Teachers should not be afraid of racism, abuse and persecution - this is not the case in the Harwich School.

“The first and final warning was not to question the behaviour of disruptive students again. I agreed because I knew that it would not affect my zeal to teach, but my ability to pay bills.”

He also accused the school of “shredding” documents supporting his case that were not contained in his personal file, which he was only provided with after months of requests.

The hearing continues.