Should a teacher with a conviction be reinstated?

In the news this week, Geoffrey Bettley, a former RE teacher was ruled to be allowed to work again after being convicted for possessing indecent images of children at between level 1-3 on the Copine scale, which suggest low levels of seriousness. The panel ruled that he poses ‘no risk’ to children. So the question of today is, should a teacher be reinstated with this conviction?

There are a few things to consider here. One of them is the nature of the conviction. For me, this conviction is indecent images of children, and the fact that his job involves children would make me have serious doubts about the level of ‘risk’ that he may pose.

Another thing to realise is the low level nature of these images on the Copine scale. This may be one of the things that the panel used as a mitigating circumstance for allowing this man to return to the profession, but at the end of the day these pictures still showed children being abused, no matter what level it is at.

On the other side of the argument, I’m sure a lot of us will admit we’ve all done things that we aren’t proud of. I can think of several things I did at school that I’m not proud of, albeit none of these things were criminal offences, but I was given a second chance, and have grabbed it with both hands. Applying the second chance right, is it so wrong to give him a second chance, despite everything that he’s done in the past?

What do you think? Has he blown his career and doesn’t deserve a second chance, or should he be given a second chance to prove his worth?


4 thoughts on “Should a teacher with a conviction be reinstated?

  1. Good questions. Here’s a few more…

    I haven’t seen the images, but if I did (in order to judge them and judge the suitability of Mr Bettley to be a teacher) would I be colluding in the abuse of the children involved?

    If the pictures were digitally or computer generated and did not involve real children, would or should Mr Bettley’s actions be considered differently?

    What if Mr Bettley was simply aroused by the thought of children in sexually suggestive poses? Do his thoughts make him unsuitable to be a teacher?

    Good blog piece – thanks.

  2. The Copine scale is from 1 to 10, and has not been used for years, also it was created for determining possible psychological therapy for people found in possession of suspect material. The 5-level SAP scale (intended for prosecutions) used Copine terminology, but omitted levels 1 to 3 of Copine as being not indicative enough of indecency to merit convictions. Levels 1 to 3 could include even images of fully-dressed children organised in a way to suggest an inappropriate interest – if you saw them you wouldn’t understand why he was convicted in the first place. I would guess you’re talking about SAP levels, but even here there are massive logical holes: age and consent are not taken into account, meaning that if, for example, a seventeen-year-old had a photo of himself having sex with his seventeen-year-old girlfriend it would be the same as a man raping a three-year-old child.
    Mr Bettley probably had more typical “model set” images that are eastern-Europe produced and consist of pubescent girls in flimsy attire, or rather comical supposedly “sexy” costumes (never nude), often in vaguely suggestive poses (never with males, sometimes in pairs or groups where they more often than not just simper). They cover the web since a lot of countries consider them to be harmless – child-abuse obsessed Britain is hauling in a lot of people who are probably mildly aroused by images of girls that have been perfectly appropriate objects of male sexual interest for most of human history.

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