By Brian Coates
A SCHOOL’S former head of IT has been disciplined for watching bizarre internet porn where women were covered in beans, spaghetti, pies and trifles.
Bernard Bertola, who taught for nearly 20 years at Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School, was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct by the General Teaching Council.
He was given a two-year conditional registration order, which means he can remain on the register of teachers but must adhere to conditions.
Bertola used a school computer to view Internet sites such as “Messy and Wet,’’ “Gunge Tank’’ and “Messy Mania.’’
He told the Birmingham hearing he had been searching for comedy, particularly Laurel and Hardy- style pranks using gunge and cream pies.
But the council said he had knowingly accessed sites inappropriate for a school environment.
“If he hadn’t expected sexual images you would not expect to see words such as ‘sexy blonde actress gets pie after pie’,” said presenting officer Bradley Albuery.
An IT manager had spotted Bertola viewing food fetish websites in June 2003 from a monitoring computer in another room and told head teacher Karen Mort. Bertola was suspended the next day.
She told the hearing he had been a poor role model.
She said: “This was done in the context of a school where parents send their children to learn and for teachers to set a good example.’’
Mr Bertola, of The Fairway, Illingworth, Halifax, was also found guilty of singling out students by race after telling Asian children he didn’t trust them to use school computers.
The incidents date back to 2002. Bertola was sacked in October 2003.
The racial incident happened in October 2002, when students walked out because of his comments.
The council’s professional conduct committee ruled Bertola labelled the students inappropriately but could not prove he had a racist motive.
The day after the incident Mr Bertola went sick and did not return until May 2003, when he spent three weeks working part-time.
On his first full day back he was caught viewing what the GTC described as “indecent images.”
Today, Mrs Mort said the school had acted decisively and the matter was referred to the Department for Education and Science and the teaching council.
She said: “My wish is to secure the best-quality education in a safe learning environment for every single child in our school and that is why we took the action we did.
“The fact I took the action I did is evidence of what I feel about the situation and the governors supported that action.’’
In an Evening Courier interview last November about a play he had written, Mr Bertola said he had taken early retirement because “the kids were getting harder and harder to teach” and there were so many external pressures on teachers.