Midlothian teacher who put prosthetic penis down his trousers at school is struck off

Midlothian teacher denied placing prosthetic penis down his trousers and and making “suggestive” movements

A teacher has been struck off for his behaviour at school
A teacher has been struck off for his behaviour at school

A Midlothian teacher who was accused of placing a prosthetic penis down his trousers and “parading around” in front of staff has been banned from teaching. Derek Turkington was also said to have placed his fingers down his trousers to mimic male genitalia, and told a pupil his dad “clearly doesn’t care about him” while working at Newbattle Community High School.

The allegations, which Turkington denied in full, arose as part of a hearing by the General Teaching Council for Scotland. A panel found his actions amounted to misconduct and ordered his name be removed from the teachers’ register.

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One allegation involved a large box of prosthetic penises for sex education which were kept in a store room. The panel heard it was a common occurrence for Turkington to “parade about” with them – though never in front of pupils. One member of staff who witnessed this said he “emerged from the cupboard with one of the prosthetic penis’ poking out of his trouser zip”.

She told him the behaviour was unacceptable, the panel heard, but was told she had a “lack of humour”. Turkington claimed he had only waved at the member of staff to attract their “attention” and happened to be holding the object.

The witness also said she had seen Turkington “place his fingers through his zip in mimicry of male genitalia” on more than one occasion. Another male member of staff who also witnessed the prosthetic penis incidents said Turkington had been acting in a “jokey way” and was a kind of “Benny Hill” character with a childish attitude towards sex.

He described the behaviour as “idiosyncratic” and said he did not find it offensive. Responding to this allegation, Turkington said that, with his “increased weight and tight trouser waistband”, he failed to understand how it would have been “feasible” for him to act in that manner.

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‘Inappropriate and sexualised behaviour’

Another allegation involved Turkington allegedly “shouting and screaming” about a male pupil in front of him. Another teacher reported Turkington “ranting and raving” as he brought the pupil to her door. She recalled him saying, in front of the pupil: “Can you please tell him that his dad clearly doesn’t care about him and he just needs to move on and get a grip”.

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Another member of staff overheard the incident, the panel heard, and said Turkington’s voice had been “so loud that pupils in an adjacent room were able to hear” what he said to the pupil. Turkinton said he remembered the incident and recalled he had been “frustrated” at the time, but denied screaming at the pupil.

A final allegation involved Turkington nailing a plank of wood to a classroom door with a hammer, shocking pupils including an autistic child who another member of staff had to step in to calm. According to witnesses, Turkington had attached paper to the door to block visibility into the room, and pupils had ripped it off. Though the member of staff alerted him to the presence of the pupils, including the autistic pupil who was sensitive to noise, Turkington “continued hammering”. Turkington claimed this incident had been over-dramatised.

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The panel found Turkington engaged in “inappropriate and sexualised behaviour” by placing prosthetic penises and his fingers through the zip of his trousers to mimic male genitalia to the “upset and distress of colleagues”. He had made “harsh comments” to a pupil about his personal situation in the presence of others which may have caused the pupil distress. He had nailed a piece of wood over a school door which had caused distress to pupils present. It considered the Teacher’s conduct to be a significant departure from the standards expected of a registered teacher and found he was “currently unfit to teach”. The panel directed Turkington’s name be removed from the Register.