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Tweeting teacher banned indefinitely

A teacher whose registration was suspended after he posted racist and violent imagery on social media has been barred indefinitely from applying for re-registration.

Gregory Shaun Teeney was employed at a Gold Coast state school in 2021 when his registration was suspended by the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) over posts he made on the then Twitter (now X) over several months.

In a decision published on Friday, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal in Brisbane granted QCT’s request to cancel Mr Teeney’s teacher registration and prohibit him from re-applying indefinitely, under Section 160 of the Education (Queensland College of Teachers) Act 2005 (Qld).

Mr Teeney had sought the end of the suspension and a non-publication order.

“The content of the tweets was varied; offensive across themes of violence, racism, sexualised comment, personal attacks on members of the public; and it was extreme in its subject matter and reproduction of images,” Members Bridgman, Knox and Oliver stated in their judgment.

They described some tweets as egregious, listing examples of suggestions of violence involving firearms; repeated sexual references and grossly insulting comments about other Twitter users and public figures; images of a dead child accompanied by abusive commentary; and disparaging comments about deceased people referring to their race, ethnicity or religion.

The members considered factors including that Mr Teeney was a mature man and characterised himself as a senior teacher, and held himself out on Twitter to be a teacher.

Mr Teeney contended there had been grave consequences for him personally and financially, and his reputation had been damaged.

“The tribunal considered the respondent’s conduct was so inappropriate that he should not be registered,” the judgment said.

“Further, he should be prohibited from applying for registration or permission to teach indefinitely under section 160(2)(j) because of:

(a) the extraordinarily objectional content;

(b) his lack of demonstrated insight and remorse; and

(c) his failure to take adequate steps or undertake future remediation to address the major shortcomings that led to the objectional conduct.”

The tribunal also rejected Mr Teeney’s submission that a non-publication order be made to protect his identity, pointing out that he did not seek anonymity in his offensive tweeting.

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