Hundreds of students have jumped to the defence of a former teacher who has been banned from the classroom for life after punching and jabbing pupils.
Jason McDermott, 45, was told at a disciplinary panel he could never teach again, after it was found he had a history of “recurring violence against pupils” at CTC Kingshurst Academy in Solihull.
But yesterday former students defended the Uniformed Services course leader – with many calling him the ‘best teacher they ever had’.
Ex-pupil Paige Griffiths even set up a Facebook page called ‘Support for Jason McDermott’, to show her backing for the teacher. It received more than 300 likes in just two hours.
“Everyone who knows Jason knows he’s the best teacher ever to have been at CTC,” she wrote. “We love you Jason!”
Paige, 18, said the ex-soldier’s lessons had a subtle military feel to them and he would sometimes prod students, ‘jokingly punch them’, and make them do army style push-up drills if they misbehaved.
“We used to do banter,” said Paige. “It was sort of like play fighting, it was joking around.
“It may have looked violent, but it wasn’t like that. Everyone who has liked the Facebook page is in support of him. The decision to ban him is unfair.”
Now Paige hopes that her group might help Mr McDermott if he decided to appeal the ban in the future. “If he does appeal it, then all of us showing our support could help him out,” she added.
Other messages of support poured in for the banned teacher, who was said to have punched one student in the stomach and pulled another’s hair.
“I didn’t always see eye to eye with him,” said former pupil Keir Herbert, “but he was a very, very good teacher.
“He would never hurt anyone on purpose. It was never malicious, it was always banter.
“It’s been taken out of context. He could be physical but in a joking manner. He was very respectful. He is a good man.”