Teachers call for right to sue false accusers
Teachers falsely accused by pupils of physical or sexual abuse should be able to sue the accusers and their families for compensation, the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers said yesterday. Members defied their leaders to demand a change in the law to allow teachers to seek redress for malicious allegations which, they said, “ruin the lives and careers” of innocent staff. The call at the union’s annual conference in Llandudno, north Wales, reflects mounting concern about the rise of the so-called “compensation culture”, which the union says also affects teachers leading school trips. It advises its 223,000 members not to go on the trips, because they can be exposed to legal action if something goes wrong. The education secretary, Charles Clarke, addressing the union yesterday, promised he would re-examine teachers’ “legitimate concern” about both issues, but remained sceptical about a call for legislation to let teachers remain anonymous during investigations. Only 69 of the 1,782 allegations of abuse made by children against NASUWT members in the past 10 years have led to convictions. In 1,378 cases no action was taken at all, the union says. Delegates called for the right to sue under-18s and their parents to tackle the growing compensation culture, despite being told by their national executive that minors cannot be sued because they do not have an income….