An Auckland primary school teacher has been deregistered has been played a game of “tickle torture” with his students.
Donald Morrison, 69, was charged last year of doing indecent acts with 10 pupils–then aged six to eight–in 2011 an 2012. He was found not guilty on all charges on September 2014.
Morrison admitted the act of misconduct but denied that there were any improper motives.
According to reports, Morrison kept his students in the classroom during lunch break, and gave children “horsey bites” and “horsey rides” on his lap.
He also reportedly played the “tickle torture” game with the kids, wherein he would tick them until their skin was exposed.
A Teacher’s Disciplinary Tribunal, however, has cancelled Morrison’s registration after finding that his actions was “serious misconduct.”
“He deliberately did not indulge in tickle torture, the upside down game, horse bites, or horsey rides during the time a student teacher was in the classroom,” heard the tribunal, adding that Morrison did not indulge in the game when other adults were present or likely to see him.
The name of the school where the incident happened was not disclosed.
Aside from being deregistered, Morrison will also have to pay 30 per cent of the New Zealand Teachers Council’s legal costs. He has also accepted the cancellation of registration as the “appropriate outcome.”
According to defense counsel Richard Earwalker, Morrison, a grandfather, has had 40 years of teaching experience and is a recipient of a prestigious award. He said that while Morrison’s actions were unwise, it was not indecent.
“But being unwise or stupid doesn’t make you a criminal,” Earwalker added.