New suspension amid deaf school sex offence probe

Donaldson's School in Linlithgow. Picture: Hemedia

Donaldson's School in Linlithgow. Picture: Hemedia

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A SECOND member of staff has been suspended from Scotland’s crisis-hit school for deaf children amid a police probe into sex offence allegations.

It is understood the employee was removed from their post at Donaldson’s School in Linlithgow at the end of last week.

The development comes after police were said to be assessing claims related to serious sexual offences at the institution, some of which are thought to be historical.

Managers at the school were last week instructed by ministers to put together an emergency improvement plan within seven days following a surprise inspection carried out in the wake of misconduct allegations against a member of staff.

Nearly half of those sitting on Donaldson’s board of governors are believed to have resigned as the crisis engulfing the school grows.

One worried parent said: “[What has been reported now] is what I have been fearing all along – my understanding is that many more teachers are coming forward to say that they have problems of their own which have not been dealt with properly.”

We revealed earlier this year how William Docherty, 42, a communications support worker at Donaldson’s, was convicted of indecently assaulting a 16-year-old boy in 2009.

The school was criticised by Sheriff Derek O’Carroll for not suspending Docherty until almost four years after the assault – despite receiving a report from the victim’s mother at the time.

However, others have spoken out in defence of Donaldson’s and its staff.

Ann Maxwell, founder of the Muir Maxwell Trust, praised the “sterling” work of teachers in looking after pupils with complex needs.

“This is a ‘shout out loud’ to the Scottish Government to pay more attention and take more care about making adequate provision for some of our most vulnerable children,” she said. “Donaldson’s does its very best for those children.”

A spokeswoman for the school said: “This is a sensitive matter and with internal investigations ongoing, we are unable to comment on the names, job titles or any other specifics of this case.”

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com