A teacher at a Derby school has been sacked for grabbing a pupil who threw a milkshake over him. After being soaked by the drink, and suffering a torrent of abuse from the 16-year-old boy, Robert Cox held the teenager's arms and pinned him to his chair. Mr Cox said he feared the boy was about to throw the chair at him. After he let the teenager go, the pupil did pick up a chair and threw it, although not at Mr Cox. After the episode at Bemrose School was captured on CCTV, governors sacked Mr Cox, even though no complaint was made by the boy or his parents. The 59-year-old, who said he had now been left "unemployable" and has twice attempted suicide, said he feared youngsters' behaviour was getting "out of control".
Married Mr Cox's 13-year teaching career has been ended by the episode. He said: "It has had a huge impact on me. I can't get another job now and our financial situation is dire, to say the least." Mr Cox said it sent out a worrying message to teachers and pupils and launched a scathing attack on the management of the school in Uttoxeter New Road, Derby. He said: "In all other public buildings you see posters saying abusive language and behaviour will not be tolerated. That is not the case at Bemrose. Instead, if you act within the school guidelines to protect yourself, to protect other students and to prevent an escalation of the situation, you are penalised."
Mr Cox said the pupil involved in abusing him was excluded for four days. He said: "I worry for my colleagues still there because the message this sends out is that if pupils threaten their teacher, the teacher is likely to be dismissed." The tribunal heard Mr Cox's sacking was in response to the way he acted in the incident on March 4 last year. It was following a commotion in the school canteen when some boys were "acting up" in front of another teacher. Mr Cox told one of them, a year 11 pupil, to sit down, at which point the teenager launched into a tirade of verbal abuse and then threw his banana milkshake over him.
Mr Cox, who said he had never witnessed such an outburst before, held the boy by the arms and sat him in the seat. He did that repeatedly every time the boy stood up because he said he feared the teenager was about to grab a chair and throw it at fellow pupils or a teacher if he did not restrain him. When the school canteen emptied, the teenager did pick up a chair and threw it at an empty table. Mr Cox, from Woodville, Derbyshire, was suspended and, following a disciplinary hearing, was sacked after the panel concluded his actions had been inappropriate. Governors ruled that he had used excessive force and had escalated rather than calmed the situation.