A teacher posted comments on the internet describing some immigrants as "savage animals" and "filth", a disciplinary panel heard
Adam Walker, a British National Party member, used a school laptop to access an online forum in which he claimed parts of Britain were a "dumping ground" for the Third World, the General Teaching Council was told on Monday.
Mr Walker is the first teacher to appear before the GTC accused of racial intolerance. He resigned from Houghton Kepier Sports College in Houghton-le-Spring, near Sunderland, in 2007.
Opening the case against the former soldier, Bradley Albuery, GTC presenting officer, alleged that the postings demonstrated views suggestive of both racial and religious intolerance. In one posting, Mr Walker claimed the BNP had risen in popularity because "they are the only party who are making a stand and are prepared to protect the rights of citizens against the savage animals New Labour and Bliar (sic) are filling our communities with".
In another posting on the same day, Mr Walker wrote: "By following recent media coverage of illegal animals and how they are allowed to stay here despite committing heinous crimes, I am, to say the very least, disgusted."
Another posting claimed that some immigrants hated people who were white and had western values.
Under existing legislation, BNP members are not banned from being teachers. But the GTC has the power to ban teachers from the classroom and issue suspensions or formal reprimands for bringing the profession into disrepute.
Concluding his opening statement, Mr Albuery said: "This case is not about the BNP or whether teachers should be members of that lawful party. This case is about the actions and behaviour of a registered teacher, using a school property on school premises in school time."
Mr Walker, from Spennymoor, County Durham, is alleged to have spent more than eight hours using the laptop for purposes not connected to his school duties. The teacher, who worked at Houghton Kepier for more than six years, resigned after his head teacher asked IT staff to investigate his use of the internet.
In a statement read to the hearing, Mr Walker said that he had not communicated his political thoughts and beliefs to staff or pupils at the school.
"I have always sought to bring out the best in my pupils,” he said. "I have certainly never discriminated against an individual on grounds of race, faith or sexuality. Part of why I became a teacher is to help people overcome social disadvantage and reach their full potential."
Commenting on the content of his postings, Mr Walker said he had been influenced by media coverage of a female PC shot dead by two illegal immigrants and the murder of British hostage Ken Bigley in Iraq.
"Looking back now I feel that I was unduly influenced by the hostile climate the media created," he said. "This led me to express intemperate views which lacked complexity and balance. I should have taken more time to think about the possible offence my words might have caused and I think I could have expressed myself more carefully and positively. I have never condemned all immigrants or asylum seekers. My comments relate to those I perceive as coming to our country and committing criminal offences or otherwise behaving badly. In many cases, I cut and pasted views from a variety of sources in order to provoke debate and these were not attributed.”
More than a dozen uniformed police officers were on duty outside the GTC's offices in central Birmingham, where demonstrators had gathered during the hearing on Monday.
The hearing continues.