BNP teacher accused of sending ‘inappropriate’ emails to ex-pupil. He faces charges of unprofessional conduct after corresponding with 17-year-old girl

 A prominent member of the British National Party faces being banned from the classroom by the General Teaching Council for England (GTC) after it emerged he will face charges of unprofessional conduct.

Mark Walker – whose brother Adam, a fellow BNP member and teacher, also fought a high-profile battle with the disciplinary body – is accused of misusing his school computer.

Mr Walker, who now works for the far-right political party, is said to have used a school email account for “inappropriate email exchanges” with a 17-year-old female former pupil.

He is expected to be charged with unprofessional conduct when he appears before the GTC this autumn.

The former teacher has already lost an employment tribunal case. He has claimed he was unfairly sacked from Sunnydale Community College in Shildon, County Durham, for his political views and involvement with the BNP.

In September 2007, more than 100 people demonstrated outside the school with placards in support of Mr Walker, claiming he had been suspended because of his membership of the BNP.

Mr Walker’s GTC hearing was due to take place last week, but instead the panel held a “case management” meeting about his case.

The GTC has not yet released details of the charges he faces.

His representative, Patrick Harrington, general secretary of the Solidarity union, told The TES that Mr Walker had referred himself to the disciplinary body because he wants to “challenge” allegations recorded on his Criminal Records Bureau enhanced disclosure form as a result of his dismissal.

“He is resigned to the fact he won’t teach again. He feels there is a vendetta against him but he knows it’s unlikely any employer would now give him a job,” Mr Harrington said. “The school and local authority have flung huge numbers of charges at him, and he wants them to be tested.”

A tribunal rejected Mr Walker’s case for unfair dismissal, concluding that the school had been justified in letting him go because of his sickness record at the end of 2008.

Mr Walker, a technology teacher, was first suspended in March 2007 after concerns were raised that he and a teaching assistant had watched video footage of “sexual activity” on a school computer.

The allegations made in September 2007 of using a school email account for “inappropriate email exchanges” with the 17-year-old ex-pupil sparked an investigation by children’s charity the NSPCC. It concluded that the correspondence suggested a sexual relationship between Mr Walker and the girl, and questioned whether he should be put in a position of trust.

During the same period, Mr Walker became ill and remained unfit for work.

Mark Walker’s brother, Adam Walker, who stood as a BNP candidate at last year’s general election, was cleared of religious intolerance by the GTC last year, despite posting comments about “filth from other countries” on a website while he should have been supervising pupils.

The drawn-out case cost the GTC £72,746. Mr Walker, who taught at Houghton Kepier Sports College, County Durham, used a school laptop to post his views.

The GTC said he had not broken any rules to bar him from the profession. Education secretary Michael Gove cited this decision as one of the reasons he decided to axe the disciplinary body.

 Published in The Times Educational Supplement. 24.06.11. Story by Kerra Maddern. 

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7 Responses to “BNP teacher accused of sending ‘inappropriate’ emails to ex-pupil. He faces charges of unprofessional conduct after corresponding with 17-year-old girl”
  1. Johnny Heartbreaker says:

    Not quite sure where the actual story is here. Other than Mark Walker using a school computer and email address to chat up a 17 year old ex-student? Chatting up a 17 year old isn’t actually a crime as far as I’m aware. Nor is chatting up an ex-student. There is no conflict of interest or abuse of power/position to be argued. In short this part of Mark Walker’s ‘crime’ has absolutely nothing to do with either the school, or his ability as a teacher: and misuse of a school’s computer and email address, at best, warrants nothing more than a first verbal warning. Which is what I would have received in the same position. But then I am Jewish and a member of the Socialist Party. Mark Walker on the other hand is a member of the BNP: and I would have to conclude that his political views and nothing but his political views led to his being sacked. Which is a real kick in the teeth for democracy. We don’t silence (or egg) people simply because they hold opposing views. After all, Lenin murdered as many political opponents as Hitler. Or is our collective Socialist memory so selective now we can no longer recognise our own hypocrisy, bigotry and prejudice?! Freedom of speech is one of the most basic and fundamental Human Rights & Civil Liberties that we can ever own as individuals, and as human beings; and a right which millions of us have foguht (and died for) long and hard for over the centuries. Sadly, too many Socialists have now moved firmly into the violent, warped, nightmare world of George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ – and I can’t help but wonder who’s next on the SWP/UAF/ Unite/ Respect/ Antifascist radar after the BNP/EDL? Me? You?

  2. Jack Thorne says:

    I think anyone who doesn’t agree with them is automatically under attack for crimes against there views. We seem to live in a world where the far left do exactly what the far right do but claim it is fine, yet will persecute the far right for it, For example they call the right wingers thugs and violent yobs etc, yet 2 members of LiverAF have not long been to court for assault. I love politics, If Mr Mark Walker had been a member of any other political party this wouldn’t have been posted, I think you will find his relationship with a 17 year old ex student ( which breaks no law at all ) has nothing to do with the political party he is a member of, For example lets say someone like Harold Shipman Voted for Labour, The headlines wouldn’t be “Labour Doctor Murdered and robs the elderly” It’s like being a child isn’t it really, Calling someone fat bob because he’s a bit over weight, that is all you people really do, Throw names and such. And its all one sided – For people whoa re so liberal and open you have no time for peoples opinions at all. Strange really.

  3. Marmite says:

    Sorry JH., but if you care to re-read this piece, Walker was first suspended for watching porn on a school computer. Hardly an appropriate use of school equipment, methinks, and hardly appropriate behaviour for someone trusted with the moral welfare of school pupils.

    Was he banned from teaching just for chatting up an ex-student? Well, the piece doesn’t make clear whether she was an ex-pupil of the school, or a former member of one of his classes. Whatever, if I was the father of a seventeen year old, who had been made advances to by someone of Mark Walker’s age, and a former teacher of hers, I would be very concerned.

    But let’s dig a little deeper. Again, the piece doesn’t make clear what was meant by the phrase “inappropriate email exchanges”. Nevertheless, the matter was sufficiently serious for the NSPCC to become involved, and for accusations of an improper sexual relationship to be made. So it sounds as if there was a bit more to his communications than just chatting her up.

    Indeed, it seems strange to me that the NSPCC would involve itself in such an incident, when the supposed victim is more than a year over the age of consent. I strongly suspect that the bit about her being a “seventeen year old former pupil” refers to her status now, not four years ago, when the accusations were made, and when she would have been thirteen.

    We will know more when the case is heard this autumn. In the meantime, the BNP takes a hard line on paedophiles, so hard in fact that it advocates capital punishment for anyone found guilty of the crime. Strange then that someone who has sailed so close to the line of paedophilia, even if he didn’t actually cross it, is now an employee of this party. What, I wonder, does he use his BNP computer for these days?

    BTW., Liverpool Anti-fascists is completely separate to, and has no connections with, UAF or any of the other initials you listed.

  4. Jack Thorne says:

    My apologies to that, i didnt realise she was 13 when the emails where sent, That is completely a crime and he should be punished, However this does not relate to his political party, What is your stance on paedophiles marmite as you have only mentioned the BNP’s view on this, And as for being separate from the initials J/H listed, this may be true but you all seem to intermix with each other and attend the same gatherings under the same flags.
    But you are completely right, if the girl was 13 at the time this is a punishable crime and should be punished, i just don’t think the persons politics should be brought in to it.. you know unless he was a member of PIE or something. It seems to me when anyone discovered doing anything shocking and are a member of the BNP its like being part of the BNP is worse. This is odd, I hear Labour 25 is now the labour 31. Maybe you should write a post on that instead. Surely There politics have nothing to do with there strange love for molesting children? or is it just when its right wing that it is connected?

    • Phil Dickens says:

      This is odd, I hear Labour 25 is now the labour 31. Maybe you should write a post on that instead. Surely There politics have nothing to do with there strange love for molesting children? or is it just when its right wing that it is connected?

      Well, this is of interest because the BNP and others take the personal crime = reflection on party line. By their logic, then, Walker committing this offence tars them all with the same brush. I don’t think that, however. I think this is of interest because a) the BNP have taken a strong stance in saying that all charges against him were party-political, and this would suggest otherwise, and b) it blows apart the myth that they’ve created whereby their opponents are all “freaks” or something similar whilst they are beyond reproach. This is clearly not the case.

  5. Marmite says:

    Let’s not set too many hares running. The possibility that she was thirteen at the time is the best interpretation I can glean from a news report which doesn’t in places make itself very clear. Like I said we’ll probably have to wait until the case is heard before we know the details for certain. That though is only part of the point. The BNP has chosen to make an issue of a handful of paedophilic Labour Party members, whilst ignoring the paedophiles in its own ranks. What’s more Nick Griffin is on record as claiming that the Labour Party deliberately lowered the age of consent to facilitate its paedophile members. In other words, as in so many other issues, BNP attacks on the “paedophilic” Labour Party amount amount to nothing more than opportunistic ranting.

    Overlooking the absolute stupidity of Nick Griffin’s charge, it is not even true. Labour merely brought the age of homosexual consent into line with the age of heterosexual consent. I’d have thought that a good thing in these enlightened days unless, like the BNP, you’re running a vendetta against gays as well.

    What’s more, it is very odd that an organisation which vigorously opposes paedophilia, and supports the institution of the family, would be prepared to employ someone whose reputation has been stained in this way. But I don’t think we need any lessons from people whose mentors tortured, enslaved and ultimately slaughtered children on the scale of Nazi Germany.

    Regarding Jack Thorne’s comments.

    1. I do not know who Johnny Heartbreaker is, but I suspect he is a far right troll. If so, I have certainly never stood under a banner with him. Nor would I ever do so.

    2. I’m not sure how my own views on paedophilia affect this issue, but I regard it as a horrendous crime from which all children deserve protection. Moreover, paedophilia attracts a very high re-offence rate, and it is therefore imperative that former offenders should be supervised once they have left prison. That though has to be balanced against the rights of the criminal and, as far as I’m concerned, once someone has committed the crime and done the time they have paid the penalty, and they deserve to have the slate wiped clean.

    In other words there is no need for witchhunts, vendettas, pogroms, Sarah’s laws, or whatever against former paedophiles. As I said, what is required is close supervision, psychological counselling and help. Has the BNP, or anyone else for that matter, ever wondered how many paedophiles hate what they do and just wish they could be normal.

  6. Jack Thorne says:

    Hello Marmite, I dint mean the same banner as Mr Heartbreaker, i meant as the UAF, SWP etc etc. Very true points by the way and i agree i think everyone does deserve a second chance once they leave prison, Well i say that but i think i would rather pick and choose who gets the second chance for example if someone had raped a member of my family, done 5 years and came out of prison i would seek to strike them down with an iron fist as I’m sure you would. So really I’m divided on everyone deserving a second chance – Also what i see as right and wrong isn’t exactly the norm so who am i to judge, The only people i think should be locked up are child killers child touches, rapists and thieves, I disagree with stealing strongly… I think i have a god complex and just want to hand out my own punishments as i see fit.
    Secondly Mr Dickens, I understand and take on board most of what you have said, however I do not understand the concept you have stated of “The BNP do it so we’ll do it to” Im aware you didn’t say that so the quotation marks aren’t really that applicable but it is the underlying message of what you said, Again school ground arguments really. I am yet to see anyone on this site actually take the higher ground.

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