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Teacher suspended as ‘pupil affair’ claims probed

A teacher has been suspended after being accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a pupil.

The male teacher has been suspended on a precautionary basis while an investigation takes place.

A PSNI spokesman said: “Police are aware of an incident at a high school in Lisburn and an investigation is under way.”

The school is Laurelhill Community College in the city, where 53 teachers went on a high-profile four-day strike in 2004 after an accusation of indecent assault was made against another teacher.

The school was forced to close during the strike.

David Bell, a technology and design teacher, was eventually cleared of indecent assault.

He admitted assault by touching a girl under the chin and was given an absolute discharge.

The teachers — who were all members of the NASUWT union — claimed that they were threatened with pay stoppage and disciplinary action after refusing to teach the girl who made the accusation.

They suspended their action after the family of the schoolgirl decided to take her out of the school.

The school’s newly appointed principal — James Martin — refused to comment on the latest case.

When he was contacted by the Belfast Telegraph he said: “Absolutely no comment.”

A South Eastern Education and Library Board spokesman said: “The board is unable to comment on this matter.” The school's board of governors also could not comment.

And a spokesman for the Department of Education said it would be making no comment either.

Last year Methodist College in Belfast was rocked by two cases involving allegations of relationships between staff and pupils.

A teacher was sacked from the leading Belfast grammar school because of an alleged relationship with a female pupil.

And a peripatetic teacher involved in a relationship with another teenage girl — in an entirely separate case — is also no longer working at the school.

This man continued in a relationship with the teenage girl despite a police probe that included an examination of the man and girl's computers and mobile phones.

Belfast Telegraph