Sacked teacher reinstated after marking scandal
A high school teacher was sacked for tampering with students' marks amid claims he personally targeted two teenagers at a Frankston North college.
But Monterey Secondary College teacher Saji Paul was later reinstated, despite a disciplinary appeals board finding "he did in fact make the alterations" to the results of 16 students in 2017.
He taught only two.
The Department of Education secretary explosively alleged that the "experienced" maths and science teacher had "motive" to personally target two of the 16 students.
A father of one had previously complained about Mr Paul's marking, while the parents of another raised concerns about "inappropriate conduct".
Their complaint was upheld and a written warning was issued to Mr Paul just three days before the grades began to slip.
The department also alleged that he had an axe to grind with two of the three teachers whose students' results were downgraded after clashing with them over a maths program and curriculum.
Mr Paul denied slashing the scores but a forensic investigation found no evidence that Compass, the online portal where students' results are kept, was hacked or suffered a security breach.
He was sacked in January last year but was later reinstated by the Disciplinary Appeals Board.
The board ruled that while on the balance of probabilities he had sufficient motive to change the scores and "did in fact make the alterations", his sacking was "excessive" and instead said he should be demoted.
A Department of Education bid to have board's decision reviewed was dismissed by the Supreme Court in October.
The Department is now appealing the Supreme Court decision.
A spokeswoman told the Sunday Herald Sun that the conduct was a "significant breach of trust" that "placed the welfare of students at risk".
"The Department is extremely disappointed in the behaviour of this teacher," she said.
"It is never appropriate for a teacher to access the records of students who are not the students of that teacher and to amend their results."
Education Minister James Merlino said Mr Paul's alleged conduct was "far below my expectations as Minister".
"Our students, teachers and parents deserve so much better," he said.
Mr Paul declined to comment.