Fear of false child-sex abuse accusations is driving Australian men away from a career in teaching, according to high-profile education officials.
Australian Education Union members have reported that young men are showing an increasing reluctance to become teachers, said the president of the union's South Australian branch, David Smith.
"Quite frankly, there are concerns about (men's) safety regarding vexatious accusations," Smith told the Advertiser.
Smith said that the Debelle royal commission, which released a report in 2013 that was highly critical of the response to a child sex abuse case at an Adelaide school in 2010, has only made men more hesitant about becoming teachers.
"The recent publicity following the Debelle inquiry has led to a negative atmosphere," Smith said.
SA Primary Principals Association state president Pam Kent agreed, saying male teachers have become "more vulnerable to the possibility of unfair or vexatious allegations" when they are alone with students.
In South Australia, more than 50 schools did not have a single male teacher in 2013.
Those figures are reflected across the nation: The Australian Bureau of Statistics' Schools Australia 2012 report indicated that the number of male teachers had declined in the previous decade.
The NSW Department of Education and Communities said the percentage of male primary school teachers slipped from 20.1 to 18.9 from 2009 to 2013, while male secondary school teachers fell from 45.3 to 43.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
AUSTRALIA - Sex abuse fears driving men from teaching