A TEACHER and British National Party activist was yesterday banned from the classroom after using school computers to send a vulnerable 16-year-old former pupil a sexually explicit message.
The General Teaching Council found that Mark Walker sent the girl emails while working at Sunnydale Community College, in Shildon, County Durham, in 2007. A Professional Conduct Committee heard that in one email, he used language understood to mean that he wanted to have sex with the girl.
The committee found that after Mr Walker was suspended from the school, he contacted colleagues about the disciplinary process, resulting in a demonstration taking place outside the school.
During the demonstration, his supporters said he was a good teacher who did not take politics into the classroom. However, the committee found him guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and banned him from teaching.
Mr Walker, who stood as BNP candidate for Sedgefield, County Durham, in the 2010 General Election, was suspended by the school in March 2007 and dismissed in December 2008.
Committee chairman Wayne Jones said: “We have heard evidence that the pupil concerned was particularly vulnerable as she had psychological problems and that staff had been made aware of this in April 2006. Mr Walker admits that he engaged in an email exchange with the pupil concerned and that this exchange was inappropriate.
“Mr Walker refers to ‘one suspect email’. However, the committee has noted that the language used in several of the emails was highly inappropriate.”
Mr Jones said the committee also took into consideration that Mr Walker had told the girl he hoped she was deleting the emails which, he said, confirmed that he knew what he was doing was wrong.
Mr Walker of Rievaulx, Spennymoor, told The Northern Echo that he accepted his behaviour was inappropriate, but felt that he was being persecuted because of his political beliefs. He said there were cases of teachers behaving worse than him but staying in the profession, and that he never taught the girl or had any physical contact with her.
Mr Walker has 28 days to appeal to the High Court, which he said he was considering.
The Northern Echo