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Argyll teacher who said he ‘would happily kill’ colleague struck off

Alan MacOnie sent the messages to a colleague.

An island teacher has been struck off for telling one colleague he would “happily kill” another during a Facebook conversation.

Alan MacOnie taught French and German at Rothesay Academy on Bute when he made the comments online.

The principal teacher of modern languages also said he had sent work to another high school to be “cross marked”. He had not done so.

MacOnie also forged the signature of another teacher on SQA verification documents for National 5 German and French exams.

He also called the female colleague – who was off sick at the time – “lazy.”

MacOnie retired in August 2019.

MacOnie faced a General Teaching Council of Scotland (GTCS) hearing which focused on a series of allegations from May, April and November 2019.

He did not give evidence during the virtual proceedings on October 27, 28 and 29.

Rothesay Academy

Stress blamed for forgery

Rothesay Academy’s headteacher Louise Nicol did give evidence to the GTCS panel. She told about MacOnie making “inappropriate” comments about another teacher’s sickness absence.

During her evidence, she said she knew details of all of the allegations he faced.

She said MacOnie had blamed stress for forging another teacher’s signature on the SQA documents. She also said that the message sent to a teaching assistant on Facebook had been reported to the GTCS and the police.

The GTCS said: “She confirmed the teacher had cited stress as the cause for his actions.

“She confirmed that the teacher had not sent off verification paperwork in relation to assessments to Dunoon Grammar School and that she took advice from the local authority with regard to this.

The report added: “She spoke to Colleague 5 notifying her of messages she had received from the teacher via Facebook Messenger and being shown screenshots of the message.

“She confirmed having reported matters to both GTC Scotland and Police Scotland. She spoke to the teacher’s personal circumstances which she believed may have contributed to the situation.”

Rothesay Academy is the only secondary school on Bute.

Another school colleague gives evidence

The teaching assistant who received Facebook messages from MacOnie showed them to the school’s headteacher.

She revealed she began the online conversation in question.

MacOnie said: “My retirement was highjacked and every time I see that dog walking her dog I feel like kicking them both into the Clyde.

“Totally ruined my retirement would happily kill her. Not even good at her job far from it lol.”

The GTCS report said that that the teaching assistant reported the messages to others at school.

It said: “She spoke to having initiated communication with the Teacher via Facebook Messenger.

“She spoke to having received a message from the teacher via Facebook Messenger in which he referred to Colleague 2 in the terms shown on the screenshot.

“She spoke to reporting the teacher’s Facebook Messenger message to another colleague at a later date due to her concerns for the teacher’s well-being.”

The report said that the messages “could have resulted” in criminal proceedings but Police Scotland took “no action.”

McOnie taught at Rothesay Academy until his retirement in 2019

McOnie showed ‘little evidence’ of remorse

MacOnie gave no evidence to the GTCS panel. The panel said there was “little evidence” of any remorse despite him apologising to colleagues.

The GTCS ruled MacOnie had shown a “callous disregard” for his fellow teacher’s health as well as making “threatening remarks.”

Their report said: “The presenting officer submitted that the teacher had shown a callous disregard for a colleague’s health and had made threatening remarks with regard to the same colleague.

“She submitted that the case was very serious, and that allegations of dishonesty was one of the most serious types of misconduct that comes before a professional regulator and that it was difficult to remediate due to the likelihood of reoccurrence.

“She submitted that in terms of the seriousness of the allegations and the behaviour found proved that the teacher’s actions fell significantly short of what was expected and that he had acted in a way incompatible with being a registered teacher.”

Argyll and Bute Council did not comment on the case.

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