BBC News, July 28, 2000
(UK) 'Slap' sentence head teacher to appeal
Usk headteacher Marjorie Evans arrives at court The head teacher who was found guilty of slapping a 10-year-old pupil at a school in Monmouthshire is to appeal against her three-month suspended sentence.
Fifty-six-year-old Marjorie Evans was told by the stipendiary magistrate at Abergavenny that her actions were a "gross breach of trust committed on a child in her care".
Vivian Manning-Davies said: "You failed the complainant, you failed the school and you failed the community."
"It is so serious that only custody is justified - but it will be suspended for a year because of the extreme and sustained provocation and the health of your mother, " he said.
Mrs Evans, who was supported throughout the case by the NUT, was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £2,250.
She was comforted by friends and supporters as she was helped from the dock.
Earlier, around 50 placard waving supporters had greeted Mrs Evans with shouts of "We support you Marge" as she walked up the steps of the court house.
After the hearing some of them left in tears and said that they were angry with the sentence.
Mrs Evans refused to speak to waiting reporters but Dyfan Jones, a spokesman for the NUT, said that she strongly denied slapping the boy and an appeal against her conviction would be lodged next week.
"The National Union of Teachers is relieved no immediate custodial sentence was made and we will be appealing against the conviction," said Mr Jones.
The union have asked the National Assembly for Wales and the Department for Education to define more closely what constitutes the legal restraint of an unruly pupil.
The sentence had sent shockwaves through the teaching profession in Wales and the UK, said Mr Jones.
"Teachers will no longer be able to intervene in arguments in the classroom, in case allegations of abuse are made." Mrs Evans, from Usk in Monmouthshire, was found guilty two weeks ago of hitting the boy, who has learning difficulites, over missing a swimming lesson.
She had denied the charge.
The court was told the boy became sullen over being left behind when the rest of his classmates went on the pool trip and Mrs Evans, a teacher for 35 years, lost her temper.
The court heard he had been banned for earlier bad behaviour.
Evans told the court she was just restraining the boy after he had tried to push, punch and headbutt her.
She said the boy was a danger to himself and the other children.
Graham Powell, chairman of the governors at Marjorie Evans' school, said there would be a meeting next Monday at which her future would be discussed.
He said he was going to advise his fellow governors to wait until the result of any appeal is known before deciding if she should keep her job, or be sacked.
But following the sentence Mr Powell said that there is a real risk she could lose her job.
See Teacher denies slap claim, BBC News, June 13, 2000