British P.E. Teacher Fired for Wearing Sneakers to Teach

From the Unclear On The Concept files:

Adrian Swain, an East London PE teacher was fired – the week before Christmas, no less – for wearing a tracksuit and sneakers to school, something he had done for the past 30 years. He was fired by the acting head teacher, Lorraine Page, who decided he was in violation of the school dress code.

According to an article in the London Daily Mail, the school's local education authority has supported the firing, because teachers "should not wear clothing children are not allowed to wear themselves." Never mind that a track suit and sneakers are generally accepted clothes for PE teachers, just like gym uniforms and sneakers are generally accepted clothes for PE students.

However, if the children aren't allowed to wear them, what are they wearing to PE class? School uniforms and black patent leather shoes? Sounds like an injury and lawsuit waiting to happen.

Of course, Swain may not be completely sacked. His fellow teachers at the comprehensive school, St. Paul's Way of Tower Hamlet, are threatening to strike if he is not reinstated.

The school dress code was imposed by Page, the acting head teacher (acting (adj.) Temporary, not permanent. Won't be around for long. Don't get too comfortable).

Apparently, Page has since left her post, just a couple short weeks after the whole brouhaha started. Guess they weren't kidding about that temporary thing.

All of which makes me wonder how seriously Page's Draconian rules should be taken. She created a rule as part of a job she won't keep, she fired a guy who has been teaching since Diff'rent Strokes first aired, and then she's gone less than two weeks of canning the guy. Makes you wonder if she was already on her way out, or if this little incident sped things up a bit.

But it ain't over yet. Professor Margaret Talbot, OBEthat's Order of the Freakin' British Empire – and CEO of England's Association for Physical Education has even weighed in, saying that Swain shouldn't have been given the boot.

"While teaching, PE teachers obviously need to wear appropriate dress. My personal view is that all teachers should be dressed in a professional manner to go to school. On the other hand I don't think it's a sackable offence," said Dame Talbot (that's what they call female members of the OBE – Dame, not Talbot).

Now, if you've got a member of the OBE saying the guy shouldn't be fired, you really need to reconsider before a bunch of royal Crusaders go medieval on you and storm your battlements. That, and a whole mob of pissed-off teachers who won't be teaching if Swain isn't reinstated.

Swain said he has a final appeal next semester. I predict he'll be back, smelly sneakers firmly adhered to both feet.

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