Help a Good Man Regain His Reputation
Help a Good Man Regain His Reputation
This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)
Latest: April 25, 2019
Onwards and upwards
Hi again everyone, and here’s to you! Thanks to your incredible care, generosity and hard work, we’ve made our £5,000 target and will soon be submitting an appeal at the High Cour...Read more
Why We're Fighting for Steve
A good man, Steve Jones, has unfairly been permanently prohibited from teaching by the TRA for trying to support a family in need at his former school. Those of us who know Steve well know that he was an incredibly dedicated teacher, who spent all his time trying to help as many families and students as possible over the years. He was an amazing teacher who helped students find work after leaving the school, counseled students, assisted families in need, took students on amazing trips and retreats, and has always there for anyone who needed help. He always went the extra mile for families and this has been deemed "unprofessional".
Steve has not been charged with or convicted of any crime, but the school and the TRA judgement have totally destroyed his reputation and health impacting on his ability to work, meaning he has not had the financial resources to mount a robust defense. The whole case simply stemmed from Steve's agreeing to be "confirmation sponsor" for a particular student in need--a role he and other staff at the school had done several times before. The main allegations against him, which you may have read in the local paper, were that:
He agreed to be confirmation sponsor to Pupil A.
Performing the role of confirmation sponsor is not, and has never been, in violation of any school policy.
As such, it is unclear why this is considered an allegation or indeed what it is supposed to allege.
He gave the same pupil a "gift"
Steve gave the student an icon of a saint upon completing successfully completing his confirmation.
This is typical in confirmation ceremonies.
He invited the family of the pupil in question to spend Christmas with his family, and went on holiday with them.
Steve tried to support the family as well as the student which was necessary due to the unique nature of their situation. This offer was made to ensure the family were not isolated at Christmas, as well as ensure the well-being of the student in question.
This was organised with the Parents of the Student and something they both attended and consented to.
He brought a counselor into the school to speak with the pupil due to issues that the student raised to Steve in his role as Head of Pastoral Care.
Given the current climate surrounding mental health provisions, this action, to my mind, is one to be commended. I cannot fathom what this can possibly allege in a case against Steve.
He gave a lift to the pupil in his car.
This is something many staff have done and something most former students would have experienced.
He allowed students to consume alcohol on a school trip.
This is a commonplace practise within the school, most prevalent on Rugby/Football/Sports tours.
The school has also hosted many events for students where alcohol was consumed by students in front of staff (this includes the Senior Management Team).
As was typical of Steve, he took the role of confirmation sponsor very seriously and so did everything he could to help both the student in question and his family. Even the student in question strongly testified on Steve's behalf at the TRA hearing and explained how Steve had tried to help him and his family.
The allegations against Steve were neither criminal nor ultimately all that serious in life's rich pattern, and yet he has been treated incredibly harshly, primarily because he could not afford to defend himself properly.
Those of us who are well aware of the details of the case believe very strongly that the case against Steve is grossly unjust. This four-year nightmare has taken a terrible financial and mental toll on Steve, his family, and his friends who have been a support and help for him.
The TRA hearing was carried out following four years of stop-and-start proceedings and the inability of the school to disclose relevant documentation. Steve himself was not allowed to testify by video-link even though this option is available according to the TRA's own guidelines. Nor was a key witness allowed to present evidence on Steve's behalf--evidence which directly refuted the claims of one of the school's key witnesses.
These are just a few of the reasons we believe that Steve has strong grounds for an appeal.
Even if you don't know him, you can imagine how devastated Steve is. Not only has his reputation been destroyed, he has been left financially crippled. This is why a number of us former students and families are coming forward to help him. He doesn't deserve this destruction of his reputation and nor do some of his supporters who have also been unfairly targeted. No one deserves this summary destruction of their reputation and livelihood. Justice requires an equal playing field for all of us, but sometimes the underdog finds himself going up against institutions with unlimited capital and resources.
Why This Case is Important
In 2009, a House of Commons committee looking into the treatment of teachers facing allegations reported that,
"The enforced isolation of someone who may be entirely innocent and who may be disadvantaged by that isolation in gathering evidence to mount a defence in any disciplinary hearing seems inhumane and unjust."
As is typical in schools the moment an allegation is made, Steve was suspended following the allegation against him. He was told he could have no contact with anyone in the school. Staff and students at the school were told they could have no contact with him. His access to school documents and potential witnesses was shut down.
Most allegations against teachers are false, but teachers constantly face the nightmarish possibility of being accused of something. Even if vindicated, their lives and reputations are ruined forever. We're hoping that Steve's case will highlight the unjust obstacles a teacher faces in defending themselves against allegations.
We want the government to implement the findings of the House of Commons Committee to make it fairer for teachers to defend themselves against false allegations.
Who We Are
We are former students of Mr Jones. In every year he taught, there are students who knew him and went to him for help. Other students have been in contact with us already and so we're confident we will hit our targets with your help.
Urgent Next Steps
This is why we want to raise an initial £5,000 pounds to (1) cover recent costs related to the hearing and more importantly (2) have a specialist evaluate the case and make the necessary or relevant submissions following the review of the case. This first step is urgent: we have less than 28 days for Steve's legal representatives to make a submission to the High Court.
Should this first step be successful, we will aim to raise a further £10,000 for the hearing at the High Court itself.
All monies raised on this platform go directly to Steve's legal team, and neither Steve nor those of us supporting this campaign will handle any of the money donated.
We will keep you posted about the progress of the case as we go forward. If you are the praying type, now is the time for prayers too!
Thank you for your support!
Help Mr Jones
April 25, 2019
Onwards and upwards
Hi again everyone, and here’s to you! Thanks to your incredible care, generosity and hard work, we’ve made our £5,000 target and will soon be submitting an appeal at the High Court.
Over the past four years, Steve and those closest to him have faced a relentless barrage of harassment and slander. Friends and family members have lost their livelihoods simply because they tried to help him support Pupil A. More than his job, Steve lost his home, his reputation and his identity without even being charged with a crime. Until now, he probably thought he’d lost his community, too. It’s impossible to thank you enough for showing otherwise.
As the page currently indicates, the campaign has moved on to a stretch target of £20,000. This was an initial estimate, and we do not anticipate needing to raise so much. We will likely revise it down after Steve’s lawyers finalise the appeal brief later this week. That said, we’d really appreciate if you could set aside a bit of spare cash for the campaign on payday. We believe we’ll need a further £10,000 (£15,000 total) to pay all the legal fees arising from the appeal. Obviously, we don’t need all of that money now, but every little bit gets us closer to addressing this injustice. Each £5 and £10 makes a difference.
As much as anything, it’s a way of standing up against ongoing the smear campaign against Steve. Last Thursday afternoon we tried to explain to the Herts Advertiser that it should make clear that the expert it quoted as opposing our campaign is a friend and former employer of the woman who initiated the insinuations and allegations against Steve. The journalist refused. Instead, the story was extended to say that “Dr Jones continues to be a menace to every child.” (Before and after).
This accusation was apparently made by the barrister for Pupil A’s parents, although they have not at any point needed legal representation. It’s an appalling claim that doesn't even reflect the judgment we're disputing. That the paper didn't stop to consider this just reflects the way Steve has been treated since 2015. As a teacher, he seems not to be worthy of the rights accorded to anyone else. We all know Steve hasn’t had a fair hearing; it’s still on us to make sure we change that. Please keep giving and sharing. This is nothing without you.
Help Mr Jones
April 18, 2019
Getting a Fair Trial
First of all, thank you so much for the support shown so far.
Over the past few days the Herts Advertiser has published stories about the TRA decision to permanently ban Steve from teaching and our campaign to crowdfund an appeal.
We spoke to the paper for the second piece, as did charity director Marilyn Hawes. The reporter neglects to mention that Hawes is the former employer of a witness who testified against Steve. Despite this connection, it is implied that Hawes is speaking as an independent expert. We have contacted the paper to address the oversight.
We gave an anonymous statement to the Herts Advertiser because of our concern that the witness Hawes used to employ, who has spent years harassing Steve and his supporters, including Pupil A, would not hesitate to make the lives of anyone they could identify miserable.
Hawes has since tweeted that social services were never involved in this case. This is false, and Pupil A has documents proving that. Hawes also claims Steve’s lawyers set up this page, which is patently untrue.
All Steve has ever asked for is a fair trial in a proper court. Unfortunately, this is yet to take place. So far, the standards of evidence have been immensely disappointing. Sadly, they’re often the standards teachers have to face. We are committed to changing that.
Help Mr Jones
April 15, 2019
Protecting Teachers - Stage 1
Thanks to everyone who’s donated! Your generosity has so impressed Steve’s lawyers that they’re starting the process of appealing to the High Court. Our job now is to follow through and get the last £1,500. We can’t let all the good work we’ve done so far go to waste. Keep it up!
In other news, the Teaching Regulation Agency panel has published the reasons behind its decision to permanently prohibit Steve from teaching. You can find it on the Teaching Regulation Agency website. We expect it to feature prominently in the next edition of the Herts Advertiser. Keep your eyes peeled, because we’re going to make sure they listen to both sides of the story and highlight all the work you’re doing in support of Steve.
Until then, here are just a few things we feel are important in regards to the High Court appeal. For the good of teachers all across the country, we’re looking to take the agency to account for these inconsistencies:
Why did the TRA accept the testimony of witnesses who have been ‘contacted’ by God and ‘received messages’ from dead people about Steve’s character? On top of that, is it not relevant that one of those witnesses has spent years harassing and abusing the one ‘vulnerable’ witness who was allowed to speak in defence of Steve (Pupil A)?
Why did the TRA not enforce the disclosure order against the College? The school’s representatives were allowed to claim that Steve’s emails are not accessible because they were archived in an encrypted folder. Is it not relevant that the College itself carried this out? It is surprising that they have failed to ‘ascertain’ a password they themselves created?
Why did the TRA ignore the fact social services decided Pupil A was safer with Steve than anyone else? Despite Pupil A’s own testimony, they called Steve’s actions to help and protect him ‘damaging’.
Although social services told the school Pupil A was not safe with his family, the College continued to insist he return to them. Why was this not considered ‘damaging’ or an abuse of institutional power?
The TRA found it particularly egregious that Steve seemed not to show any insight or remorse for his actions. That might be relevant if they had spoken to him about them. Instead they made their decision primarily on the basis of three- and four-year-old documents.
We have £1,500 left to raise. We need your continued support to ensure Steve can get his case to the High Court and justice can be served.
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