ELECTION: Sacking inspires independent to take on system
A WIDE Bay candidate has revealed how being sacked as a teacher led to him running for office at the federal election.
Tim Jerome was a teacher for 16 years before he started butting heads with the Department of Education, raising concerns about what he saw as ongoing issues within the system. He wrote letters to former education minister Kate Jones, voicing his concerns about teaching conditions, which he claimed were deteriorating as a result of student behaviour.
"From there it escalated, they took offence to that," he said.
Mr Jerome claims after he spoke out, the department took disciplinary action against him.
When Mr Jerome's wife started a Facebook page sharing her husband's situation and alleging the public school system was in crisis, Mr Jerome claims department demanded the page be taken down.
He says he was then issued with a show cause notice as to why his employment shouldn't be terminated.
Mr Jerome said he lost his job soon after.
He is now working at a private school, but says the situation took a toll on him and his family and left him determined to fight the system.
He said this was his motivation behind throwing his hat in the ring as an independent candidate for Wide Bay.
"Teachers don't have any rights," he said.
"You go into a classroom and students know teachers have no power."
Mr Jerome also criticised the emphasis on tests such as NAPLAN, which he said detracted from learning.
"The system just isn't working," he said.
A spokesman from the Department of Education said it was not possible to comment on individual cases.
But he said the Code of Conduct and the Standard of Practice provided employees with guidelines relating to their professional conduct.
"There is no higher priority for the Department of Education than the safety and well-being of everyone in our school communities," the spokesman said.
"When an allegation is made relating to a perceived breach of the Queensland Government's Code of Conduct an assessment of the allegations is undertaken and an investigation is undertaken if warranted."
The spokesman said the department was committed to maintaining high standards of student behaviour.
"The safe, supportive and disciplined school environment procedure informs principals and teachers about different behaviour and discipline options, such as detentions, suspensions, discipline improvement plans, exclusions and cancellations of enrolment," he said.
"Queensland state school principals have discretionary powers to make decisions about the use of sanctions, such as suspension and exclusion, to address serious problem behaviour in their school.
"Every state school also has access to a variety of regional staff when additional advice or support is required.
"This includes senior guidance officers, mental health coaches, principal education officers, principal advisors education services and directors of regional services."