South East Wales

Merthyr Tydfil teacher who 'hit pupil with book' suspended

Merthyr Tydfil College Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption The alleged incident took place at Merthyr Tydfil College

A teacher found to have hit a pupil on the head with a notebook has been suspended for four months.

Regina Hungerford, 56, denied striking a 17-year-old as he listened to music in her class at Merthyr Tydfil College.

But a disciplinary panel ruled contact with the pupil was probably made and her conduct had been "unacceptable".

On Thursday, the Education Workforce Council imposed the suspension, saying: "The public interest is in favour of her being able to teach again."

Mrs Hungerford admitted shouting and slamming a book on the desk of the "provocative and disruptive" teenager as he listened to rap music in her classroom - but always denied hitting his head.

She was cleared, on appeal, of a criminal charge for assaulting the pupil during a maths lesson for those with learning difficulties.

Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Regina Hungerford has worked as teacher for 29 years

But in November, a disciplinary panel found, on the balance of probabilities, she had made physical conduct with the pupil on the head or hand.

The panel found she had "acted in an inappropriate way" and ruled it was professional misconduct.

During the hearing, the mother-of-three pleaded to save her "very rewarding" career.

Behaviour-management course

She told how the allegations had "ruined her life", calling it a "miscarriage of justice", but said she wanted to continue teaching.

On Thursday, Mrs Hungerford was told she would be suspended from the teaching register for four months, but she will be allowed to return after taking a behaviour-management course.

Panel chairman Gareth Roberts said it was the appropriate sanction to "allow her to return to teaching within a short period of time".

He said: "The public interest is in favour of her being able to teach again."

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