CAB - 7 Oct 2020 - 10 Oct 2020 - Advice

Teacher incident hits Skerries hard

A SHETLAND fisherman whose remonstrations with the head teacher scared her off the tiny island where she taught was fined for causing a breach of the peace at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

The court heard that on 4 September, William Anderson had delivered milk to the school on Skerries, where four of the six pupils are his grandchildren. His daughter is also the school cook and his wife cleans the premises.

While there he complained robustly about the treatment one of his grandchildren was receiving from the head teacher Rebekah Giddy before he was asked to leave the premises.

As he left Anderson said he would speak to her later, as he lived next door to her at Harbour View.

However the police were called immediately and Anderson was escorted off the island to Lerwick police station where he was questioned and kept in the cells overnight.

Giddy, who had only been teaching on Skerries for one year, packed her bags that night and left the island for good.

Last month, when 61 year old Anderson pled guilty to causing a breach of the peace, procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie told the court the bone of contention had been Giddy complaining about Anderson’s grandchildren driving quads on the island.

On Wednesday defence agent Tommy Allan said in truth his client had been angry about the way one of his grandchildren was being treated by the teacher.

Allan said: “While he was there he accepts he was angry and said things in the heat of the moment and appreciates he should not have said them. He didn’t go there to confront her.”

The agent said it was a very sad situation as the neighbours had been the best of friends up until shortly before this incident, and he did not intend frighten her off the island.

“The whole business has had a very bad effect on the family and the very small fragile island community,” he said.

Sheriff Philip Mann said he appreciated that Anderson’s actions would not have had such major consequences had they happened on the mainland.

Fining Anderson £200, he said: “I am sentencing you on the basis that you did not intend to drive the lady off the island. I have to look at the conduct to which you pled guilty because I think the consequences are out of proportion to the actual conduct.”

Skerries’ 70 residents are currently campaigning to stop the local council from closing their secondary department, the smallest in Scotland, as part of £3 million cuts to the education budget.

After Giddy’s departure a supply teacher was brought in while the council tries to fill the £51,000 a year post.