A teacher could be banned from the classroom after writing an anonymous ‘Gossip Girl’-style blog about teachers and pupils at his school.
Alexander Price, 43, penned the “The Provoked Pedagogue” blog about students, parents and staff at Denbigh High School in Denbigh, North Wales.
The design and technology teacher even targeted school girls, writing that they dressed ” like Eastern European prostitutes and trans-human Kardashian clones” at prom.
Between January 2016 and March 2018 he wrote 24 blog posts, until a colleague found the site, and reported it to headmaster Dr Paul Evans.
Dr Evans quickly connected the dots, and realised that one post, titled ‘Liars, Backstabbers and Empire Builders’ referred directly to a meeting the two had had.
In some posts he made up nicknames for headteachers at the school, calling one “El Supremo” and another “Grima Wormtongue” after a character from Lord of the Rings.
At a hearing in Cardiff, Mr Price, who admits writing the blog but denies the posts amount to unacceptable professional conduct, said he had no intention of ever returning to the teaching profession.
Mr Price said: ” I would assert the absolute right to freedom of expression.
“In these times of cancel culture and the ownership of language this is one further example of the liberal elite attempting to sanitise the world with their own brand of passive-aggressive censorship and bullying.”
He added: “Teaching in Wales is in crisis, teaching at Denbigh High School was non-existent in any meaningful sense of the word, fact borne out of its inability to meet even the basic standards of competence.
“The school is run in a shameful way which negatively impacts on the lives of children and their families in one of the poorest wards of the UK.
“Paul Evans treated Denbigh High School like his own personal fiefdom, running roughshod over procedure and bullying those who did not comply with his methods.
“He blamed me directly for failings in his own management and to seek to intimidate me to complying with his unreasonable demands.”
The headteacher said he had been made aware of the ‘The Provoked Pedagogue’ blog and Twitter account in February 2018.
The 540-student school was in special measures at the time Mr Price wrote the blog.
Dr Evans added: “T o know that one of our colleagues was letting the world know it was a challenging situation and a lack of leadership and direction showed a lack of loyalty towards the school and what we were trying to do at the time.
“I think many staff would find it hurtful one of their colleagues was being disrespectful and pouring scorn on their efforts.
“I think it’s very disrespectful to his colleagues, I think if they were to read that they would find it hurtful.”
Mr Price has no plans to return to teaching regardless of the panel’s decision, but he urged them to not “shoot the messenger” for exposing problems at the school. He said he hoped the blog would “shine a light” on the “disgraceful behaviour” of Dr Evans.
He said: ” Behaviour was horrendous and unsafe. Drug use was rife. The blog had a tiny readership and was fully anonymous.
“Hundreds of pages of papers and hours and hours of time have been invested to investigate a blog which yielded zero complaints and simply told the anonymous truth.
“The articles are colourful and meant to be entertaining. While it was active I would regularly receive responses asking if I worked at their school – indicating the issues experienced were mirrored and lending strength to the efforts to anonymise the blog.
“I hope this shines a further light on the how poorly the children of Denbigh High School are being served.
“I hope these proceedings finally manage to drive the improvements that all the people served by the school deserve.”
In one article titled “The Problem With Prom”, Mr Price called the event “a shallow, vacuous affair, about nothing more than who has spent the most on looking nice”.
He described the evening as where anxious young teens are “shoehorned into gowns and paraded into towns like cattle”.
The post called attending teenagers: “Shameless chicken fillets shoved into criminally expensive and ill-fitting gowns.”
Presenting officer Ashanti-Jade Walton asked Mr Price if he was sorry for his comments about the school prom.
He answered: “I’m sorry that so many pupils are forced to do this. That’s what I’m sorry about.”
Dr Evans hit back, saying his comments were “extremely hurtful”.
He added: “The pupils are not from rich backgrounds therefore could not be in a position to afford expensive prom gowns or overpriced cosmetics.
“I believe they are wholly derogatory comments about the pupils at the school, disrespectful and seeking to undermine pupils at the school.
“The comments are wholly offensive to parents whose pupils attend the school.”
Colin Adkins, Mr Price’s NASUWT union representative said his comments were fair and a “reasonable professional opinion”, in which the school, parents and pupils could not be identified.
He said: ” The contents of the blog are true and the attack on Mr Price is an attempt to cover-up the failings of the school.
“Just because these facts are inconvenient to the school should not allow the school to succeed in this cover up.
“The blogs are totally anonymised. There is not one article which mentions a pupil by name, a parent by name, or a member of staff by name.”
Mr Price left the school in 2019 and may be struck off permanently, pending the outcome of the hearing.