Target: Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education of Great Britain
Goal: Prevent a teacher found with child pornography from getting his job back
Geoffrey Bettley, a religious education teacher at St. Mary’s Catholic School for ten years, was suspended after police found close to 200 sexually explicit images of children on his computer. The school fired him, and he was placed on a sex offender’s registry for two years. Yet the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, claims that Bettley does not “represent a risk to children or young people,” and has allowed him to continue working with children, after receiving a warning from police.
This decision was met with skepticism from many public officials. A fellow conservative member of the British Parliament questioned the ruling, stating that “I’m sure you will appreciate many parents will be deeply disturbed someone who has been convicted of downloading child porn should be allowed to teach again.” Peter Saunders, chief executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, stated that Bettley should never teach again. Bettley was placed on the sex offender registry for only two years, and has since been removed.
Setting aside the fact that this man was a religious education teacher, and the implications behind having a man who views child pornography teaching religion and moral value to children, this man cannot be allowed to teach again. Sign this petition to demand that Michael Gove, the secretary of State for Education, overturn the ruling and prevent Bettley from ever working with children again.
Dear Michael Gove,
Recently, Geoffrey Bettley was reinstated as a teacher after police found close to 200 images containing sexually explicit pictures of children on his computer. He was terminated from St. Mary’s Catholic school and placed on a sex offender’s list, as he should have been. Yet since then he has been removed from the registry, and after a warning from police, been allowed to continue teaching children. The panel which reinstated him stated that Bettley “does not represent a risk to children and young people”
I do not believe this to be possible: a man who consistently views child pornography is clearly a menace to children and has no right to be in contact with them. Not only does this ruling place the Department of Education under fire, but it places children directly in harms way. Geoffrey Bettley has demonstrated that he is not fit to teach, nor be around, children.
I urge you to reconsider the panel’s decision to reinstate Bettley. This decision paves the way for a blind eye towards those who download and view child pornography, and an example of him must be made. Allowing him to continue teaching tells other potential predators that they may have a conduit towards children after initial convictions. Please, reconsider your decision and ban Bettley from teaching.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Paul Clarke via Wikimedia