Lecturer sacked over slap to student speaks of ‘destroyed career’

By Rebecca Lefort – Telegraph.co.uk June 13, 2010

She was a dedicated college lecturer with an unblemished teaching record stretching back over more than three decades.

But a quick swish of her hand destroyed Steph Crossley’s career.

When a burning smell filled her classroom during a lesson, Miss Crossley telephoned for advice.

During the emergency call, finding herself distracted by a student standing behind her who was talking loudly, she swung an arm back and slapped the woman’s thigh in an attempt to keep her quiet.

The fire threat turned out to be a false alarm, and the student, Sabia Sajid, 21, suffered no injuries.

But she reported the incident to another teacher, the affair escalated, and managers at Kirklees College in Huddersfield dismissed Miss Crossley for gross misconduct – even though Miss Sajid did not want her teacher to lose her job.

Now the 57-year-old has a new job washing towels, earning only the minimum wage. Her pride, status and employment hopes lie in tatters.  …