Michael Diggle, a drama teacher at an all girls’ school in the United Kingdom, has been banned from teaching after an investigation revealed that he behaved inappropriately with several of his female students. According to the Northamptonshire Telegraph, Diggle was found guilty for his inappropriate behavior, which included photo sessions in which students were asked to remove articles of clothing or put on something provocative.
Michael Diggle was a drama teacher at the Southfield School for Girls in Northamptonshire, Kettering. He was first employed at the school in 2006 as the head of drama before becoming the head of creative arts in 2012.
A panel conducted by the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) found that the 39-year-old Diggle had taken several students enrolled in one of his classes and was going to have them begin work on a new play that was different from prior performances.
“In late 2012, it was decided that students at the School taking A-level drama would perform a provocative play, Crave, outside of their usual studies, so as to improve their skills and bolster their university applications. During the performance, some audience members were to be shown pictures of students, in provocative poses, such as those that some young women post on Facebook. Some such photographs involved the students wearing bruise make-up.”
None of the students’ names were revealed in the panel; they were only labeled as Student A, Student B, and Student C. One instance revealed that Michael Diggle and Student A were in the same room together with no one else present. During this time, Diggle had asked the student to put on a nightgown and then lift it to a point in which her legs were exposed. During testimony, it was believed that Diggle had moved the nightgown himself. The drama teacher denied that he did such a thing.
“I have never touched anyone in an inappropriate way; pats on the back, handshakes, and physical direction during work are the only positive physical interactions undertaken.”
But a written statement from Student A revealed that Michael Diggle had, indeed, touched her nightgown, or “nightie,” as she referred to it.
“Mr. Diggle always asked before here-positioned the nightie but he would always move it rather than asking me to lower the strap, or raise the nightie.”
Diggle had also denied that he asked the student to remove her bra. But her written statement proved that the teacher was not being truthful.
“Mr. Diggle asked me to remove my bra as the straps were showing.”
The panel concluded that Michael Diggle should not have touched the student.
“There was no need for Mr. Diggle to move Student A’s clothing himself, rather than asking Student A to do it. In the absence of such necessity, touching Student A so as to expose more of her legs was inappropriate.”
Some of the same allegations were brought up for Student B. In addition, there was one instance in which Michael Diggle conducted a fireman’s lift on her.
“It involved lifting the student’s head over the back of Mr. Diggle, with Student B’s legs in front of Mr. Diggle. The panel also finds such close physical contact, for no discernible proper reason, to be inappropriate.”
Student C testified that Michael Diggle had instructed her to shave her legs for the play. But it was unclear if he was joking or being serious. Diggle said he was joking when he said it, and he didn’t consider the comment to be offensive. The panel concluded that Diggle’s comment was a joke, but it was not something he should have said.
“As such, the panel finds that such a comment, by a male teacher to a female student, was inappropriate.”
The panel concluded that Michael Diggle’s actions were not sexually motivated, but he has been banned from teaching in England indefinitely. Diggle has been given the option to appeal the ruling to the High Court, but he cannot do so until March 6, 2017.
[Images via Blog Tired and YouTube screencap]