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Deputy Head Who Shot Pupil With Air Rifle Told He Can Carry On Teaching

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Deputy Head Who Shot Pupil With Air Rifle Told He Can Carry On Teaching

A deputy head teacher who shot a pupil with an air rifle has been given the go-ahead to carry on teaching.

Simon Gitlin, 53, was overseeing an after-school shooting club at the preparatory school in Cheshire where he worked when the 11-year-old pupil asked 'what it would be like to be shot'.

Gitlin told the student 'it would bloody well hurt' before opening fire with the airsoft gun as the boy ran around the hall saying: "Shoot me, shoot me."

The student was hit 'at least twice from a distance of 10 to 15 metres' with the plastic bullets causing injuries to his arms, legs and stomach.

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Gitlin immediately went to check on the youngster and apologised to him.

The pupil was not seriously hurt but was left 'extremely upset' by the incident, which took place in 2019.

Gitlin went to court over the incident, where he admitted assault and was ordered to complete 200 hours unpaid work and pay the boy £125 ($174) compensation.

He resigned from his job at the school and hasn't worked as a teacher since.

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But in a recent hearing by the Teaching Regulation Agency, Gitlin has avoided being barred from teaching after several parents filed testimonials in support of him.

Gitlin, from Prestbury in Cheshire, said the incident was a 'momentary lapse of judgement'.

Credit: Cavendish Press
Credit: Cavendish Press

A redacted report of the proceedings reads in part: "There was a clear consensus that Mr Gitlin's departure was a loss to the school.

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"This evidence clearly indicated he was very well regarded as an educator, had made a valuable contribution to the profession and may well do so in the future.

"The incident was also a momentary lapse and Mr Gitlin has shown clear regret and remorse.

"The panel did not consider that Mr Gitlin posed a continuing risk to learners. The fact that, given his experience and prior good service, there was every prospect that Mr Gitlin could be an asset to the profession in the future, should he decide to return to the classroom.

"The panel was particularly struck by the letters of support from parents, many of whom wrote in glowing terms whilst fully recognising that Mr Gitlin had committed an offence. The level of support from within the school and from the wider school community was readily apparent.

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"Whilst very serious, in particular as it resulted in harm to a pupil, this was an isolated, one-off incident. Mr Gitlin had demonstrated clear and unequivocal insight into the circumstances that led to his actions. He showed clear regret and remorse from the outset."

The hearing found that Gitlin had breached professional teaching standards, but he was spared a prohibition order which would have barred him from teaching.

The report concludes: "In this case, I have considered the extent to which a prohibition order would protect children. The panel has observed, 'The victim was a pupil and the offence occurred in the school environment during the course of Mr Gitlin's professional duties. Pupil A suffered injuries, albeit relatively minor, to his leg and abdomen. He was also, reportedly, shocked and upset by Mr Gitlin's actions'.

"Although a prohibition order would therefore prevent such a risk from being present in the future, I have also noted the following comment 'the panel was satisfied that the risk of repetition, of conduct of the same or similar nature, was minimal. It did not consider that Mr Gitlin posed a continuing risk to learners'.

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"For these reasons, I have concluded that a prohibition order is not proportionate and not in the public interest for this case."

Featured Image Credit: Cavendish Press

Topics: UK News

Claire Reid
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