Kirklees College teacher loses unfair dismissal appeal


A teacher who struck a student while making a phone call about a fire was not unfairly dismissed, a tribunal has ruled.

Sabia Sajid, 20, was slapped on her hip by IT lecturer Steph Crossley at Kirklees College last year.

Miss Crossley, 57, of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, claimed that she might have acted as she did due to an anxiety about fires.

But an employment tribunal in Leeds found the sacking was not unfair.

The tribunal had earlier heard Miss Crossley was teaching a class at the college on 27 January when she and her pupils smelt smoke.

As she made a telephone call to another department to get instructions, she said she "needed quiet" and slapped Miss Sajid on her hip to try and get her to quieten down.

Fire 'anxiety'

Judge Kendrick Horne said Miss Crossley, who had an unblemished record at the college since 1984, should have been aware that unless there was immediate physical danger she should not have touched a student.

He ruled that she "intentionally hit Miss Sajid with a sideways sweep of her hand".

The student was not injured or seriously hurt.

At her disciplinary hearing, which eventually led to her dismissal, Miss Crossley, said she could have acted like she did because of an underlying anxiety about fire.

She said at the time: "I don't like fire because I was involved in a school that had a real fire, whether that's at the heart of it I don't know."

The judge found Miss Crossley was not unfairly dismissed and the process leading to her sacking had been carried out correctly.

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