Monday, August 25, 2014

UK: Public school teacher accused of sex act with pupil is CLEARED in just 90 minutes  and says teachers have no power when allegations are made

A PUBLIC school teacher accused of engaging in sexual activity with a ‘flirty’ female pupil spoke of his frustration yesterday after he was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Russell Woolwright, 30, said the false allegations had forced him to resign from his job as an economics teacher at £30,000-a-year Canford School in Dorset, where he had worked for five years.

The girl, who was 17 at the time, sent Mr Woolwright a series of inappropriate emails – but he insisted there had  been no sexual contact.

After having to endure a four-day trial in which he was charged with making the teenager perform a sex act on him  during an encounter in an alleyway,  he said the system leaves all the  ‘power with the pupils and not with  the teachers’.

Mr Woolwright met up with the girl after she pestered him with a string of lewd emails including one she titled ‘party in my pants’.

He said he told the girl to stop contacting him and twice backed away when she tried to kiss him.

After the police later learnt of the  email exchange between the pair,  the girl ‘embellished’ her version of events and claimed she carried out  the sex act.

But a jury took just 90 minutes  to find him not guilty of two  counts of causing or inciting  sexual activity with a girl as an adult in a position of trust.

After the verdict at Bournemouth Crown Court, Mr Woolwright said: ‘It’s a huge relief.  ‘I now feel I can go out again without being judged and I can get on with my life which I am having to rebuild from scratch.’

He went on to say: ‘This trial has not only affected me but also my friends and family.  ‘It has made me realise the power is with the pupils and not with the teachers. An allegation can be made at any time.’

Mr Woolwright also revealed that he would like to get back into teaching again, but said he would be ‘more wary’ of situations involving students in the future.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, started emailing the teacher after they bumped into each other in Wimborne, Dorset.

On October 25 last year he was sent an email from a friend of the complainant which he received on his mobile phone.  The first message said ‘[she] wants you’ and another one read: ‘Hurry up Wussy Russy.’

The girl, described in court as ‘flirtatious’, then sent an email which was titled ‘party in my  pants’ and boasted of her sexual prowess in a follow-up message.

Mr Woolwright insisted that he was angry and shocked by the nature of the messages, and claimed he had only decided to meet up with the girl so that he could tell her to stop.

He told the court: ‘I saw it as an opportunity to say “look these emails really have to stop. It’s inappropriate in the language that’s been used.”’

He emailed both the girls in the days following the encounter to urge them to delete the emails they had swapped.

When he was questioned by the police he acknowledged he had been wrong to put himself anywhere near the girl at the time and admitted that he should instead have taken up the matter with the school’s headmaster.

He told officers: ‘I don’t want this allegation to ruin my job at Canford and also my teaching career because I love it.’

Mr Woolwright, from Bristol, flatly denied the girl’s version of events when they were put to him by prosecutor David Bartlett during the trial.

He is currently not teaching but working for a company which manufactures audio devices.


UK: How much do our genes dictate our High School results?

Your scores in your GCSEs are heavily influenced by your genetic heritage

Almost three quarters of a million students will have received their GCSE results this week and congratulated themselves on – or bemoaned the lack of – the effort they put in back in May. Of course, hard work is important, but studies have shown that GCSE results are also influenced by a myriad of other factors, many of which may surprise you.

One factor that is clearly important is genes. If you as a parent did well in your exams, it’s likely that your children will too. In fact, a study by researchers at King’s College, London, published at the end of last year made waves by showing that around 58 per cent of the variation between students with regard to their GCSE results could be accounted for by genetic differences. How do we know? Identical twins (who share 100 per cent of their genes and 100 per cent of their environment) have more similar GCSE scores than do non-identical twins (who share 100 per cent of their environment, but only 50 per cent of their genes).

The 58 per cent figure is arrived at by comparing the extent of the difference between members of identical and non-identical twin pairs. On this calculation, the shared environment was shown to account for just over a third of the variation between students; a surprisingly low figure when it is borne in mind that this category includes not only the schools the pupils were sent to and the teachers they had, but also effects of the home environment (including the family), peers, boyfriends and girlfriends, reading (or lack thereof), the internet, computer games, and all the other 101 things that parents of teenage children fret about.

Another highly heritable factor in GCSE success is personality, which has been shown to account for eight per cent of variation between students. If your child has a somewhat introverted disposition – in other words, likes to spend time on their own; has just a few, close friends; often favours listening over talking – then he or she is likely to have done better in all the core subjects (English Language/Literature, Maths and Science).

Students, on the other hand, who score high for neuroticism – those who are in a permanent state of anxiety over who said what about whom on Facebook, for example – show worse performance, but only in maths and science, presumably because these subjects in particular demand concentration and focus (which is difficult when you’re worrying about something else). Interestingly, students who are curious, creative, independent thinkers – those who score highly for the personality trait of “openness to experience” – don’t show any particular advantage in GCSE performance; perhaps, critics would argue, because modern exams encourage drilling and rote learning, rather than creative thinking.

Parents have an influence beyond their genes too, of course, but not always in the ways that you might think. For example, boys (but not girls) whose mothers suffered from post-natal depression show worse performance in their GCSEs. This effect seems to be driven by the fact that mothers who suffered from post-natal depression are less able to provide cognitive support to their children (for example, discussing and elaborating on things their children say) during the preschool years, regardless of whether or not they are still experiencing depression.

Another study found that students whose mothers suffered from existing diabetes before their pregnancy (as opposed to gestational diabetes) were three times as likely to achieve no good GCSEs (Grades A*-C). More research is needed to find out exactly why, but – at present – the most likely explanation is that the mother’s diabetes has a negative effect on the baby’s cognitive development while still in the womb.

Indeed, quite a few things that happen in the early years impact GSCE results many years down the line. For example, students who have suffered from meningitis in infancy are more likely than controls to fail both to achieve the holy grail of five good GCSEs (25 per cent and 48 per cent respectively) and to obtain a single pass (25 per cent vs 7 per cent). Similarly, a study conducted at the University of Liverpool found that children with very low birth weight went on to score significantly fewer GCSE points (an average of 32 points, where A*=8, A=7, B=6, and so on) when matched to their own classmates (37 points), with 38 per cent and 44 per cent respectively achieving five good passes. Both meningitis and low birth weight impact upon childhood IQ, which is strongly linked to later exam results.

Later in life, however, the effect of weight flips: a study by Dr Josie Booth, a psychologist at the University of Dundee, published just a couple of months before the current crop of students sat their exams found that girls (but not boys) who had been overweight at age 11 showed significantly worse GCSE performance at age 16 than their normal-weight peers, even after controlling for current weight, IQ and depression. Again, we’re not sure exactly why this is, but there is some evidence that overweight 11 year olds are more frequently off sick than their classmates and even receive lower marks from their teachers for work of the same standard. (Of course, GCSE exams are marked blind, but a lifetime of unfairly-low grades can hardly be good for students’ confidence).

Of course, the most important factor, accounting for around 20 per cent of variation between students, is intelligence. Nevertheless, if your child didn’t receive the GCSE results they were hoping for today, they can look to science for a laundry list of excuses. You might not want to share this information with them, however; after all, perhaps the biggest contribution to their performance comes from you. Or, at least, your genes.


School Superintendent Asks Female Student To Bend Over During Dress Code Check


A school superintendent in Noble, Oklahoma allegedly asked a female student to bend over during a dress code check on the first week of school and claimed, “If you’re not comfortable with bending over, we might have a problem.”

Students at Noble High School report that the superintendent, Ronda Bass, kicked off a school assembly by saying, “Have y’all ever seen any ‘skanks’ around this school…I don’t want to see anyone’s ass hanging out of their shorts.” She later completed another dress code check, singling out just the female students.
Several students were sent home “crying and humiliated,” KFOR reports, and now parent are also raising concerns over how their daughters were treated. They’ve started a petition demanding that she step down.

For her part, Bass denies doing anything inappropriate and says she was trying to protect her students from the names others were calling them. “The message I wanted to send to them was I don’t want them to be called those names,” she told KFOR. “I want us to be known as the classy lady Bears.”

The incident is just the latest installment in a long line of examples of schools telling girls to cover up so they don’t distract their male peers. Critics worry that these policies teach girls that it’s their responsibility to prevent themselves from being ogled, rather than teaching boys to have the self-control to refrain from objectifying their classmates.


No comments: