Teacher denies ‘pinching, pushing and spitting’ on pupils
A TEACHER accused of pinching, pushing and spitting on students told a court that on her first day at the primary school a student told her, "We don't like people who aren't Arabic".
The 58-year-old gave evidence at Liverpool Local Court on Monday denying six counts of assaulting four students in April and May last year in a south west Sydney school.
Each time she was asked if she had pinched, pushed, punched, scratched or spat at the students during the four weeks she taught at the school she answered with a firm, "no".
It is alleged she assaulted the students while she was their teacher in a composite 3/4 class.
Neither the teacher nor the school can be identified for legal reasons. The woman said that on her first day with the students a boy, who would later tell police she spat on him, asked her if she was Arabic.
"I remember thinking, 'what do I say?' And I said, 'no I'm not,' and he said, 'we don't like people that aren't Arabic' and then he made a comment that I looked like Donald Trump," she said.
The teacher described the class as being "chaotic", recounting having to break up several fights between boys.
She described how balls would be thrown at other students in the classroom and how on the first day one girl "absconded" from the classroom while others threw paper origami out a window.
The teacher said the previous class teacher told her to, "be firm with the students because there was a lot of behavioural issues".
She said her "instructional leader" told her, "not to be concerned about the content but spend time getting to know the students and for the students to get to know me".
The teacher said that she was hardly ever alone with the students and there was always a classroom aid or another teacher with her.
Four students have already given evidence at the hearing including one boy who said the teacher was like the headmistress Miss Trunchbull from the movie Matilda. The character in the movie is a fierce disciplinarian regularly throwing children as punishment and scaring them with her riding crop.
The boy told the hearing the teacher once pushed him hard into the wall and whispered in his ear, "f*** off".
Under cross-examination by police prosecutor Sergeant Paul Bush the teacher denied she felt the boy was being racist when he made comments about her not being Arabic and looking like Donald Trump.
"Well I was instructed to get to know the children and for them to know me. I just thought that was part of it and they had a well-developed political awareness as well," she said.
Sgt Bush put to her that she was "out of her depth" in the classroom: "You were out of your depth and you got angry with those kids you couldn't control?"
"No," she said.
An eight-year-old girl previously told the hearing the teacher punched her twice in the shoulder.
The teacher is also accused of spitting on a nine-year-old and scratching another boy's back.