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    Teacher who ordered class of teenage (underage) boys to research porn on-line allowed to keep teaching

    A TEACHER who told a class of teenage boys to research pornography online has been allowed to keep teaching.
    Mark Heiberg won a promotion after Victoria's teacher watchdog dismissed a complaint about his assignment entitled: "Is Nudity and Pornography the same thing?"
    Mr Heiberg told his class to use to the internet to research the topic, then asked them what would constitute suitable viewing for an eight-year-old boy.
    The Herald Sun has seen the worksheet, which Mr Heiberg handed out to his Noble Park Secondary College physical education class of year 8 boys.
    Mr Heiberg said he did not intend for children to download pornographic images, and stood by the assignment.
    "When I said use the internet, I didn't mean look at pictures of pornography. It was to get a definition," he told the Herald Sun.
    "I think it's appropriate that kids know the difference, because there's so much out there."
    The worksheet, distributed in 2004, instructs students to present their results as a Word or PowerPoint document.
    The aim of the task, which asks students to define nudity and pornography, is to help students clarify their values.
    It tells them to look at different cultural approaches and asks how they would decide what was suitable viewing for a nine-year-old girl or an eight-year-old boy.
    The VIT, which dismissed 46 of 61 complaints lodged last financial year, did not interview Mr Heiberg before deciding he had no case to answer last July.
    Its disciplinary proceedings committee resolved not to investigate because the complaint failed to "provide evidence of serious misconduct", according to documents seen by the Herald Sun.
    "The VIT didn't even speak to me about it," said Mr Heiberg, who has since been promoted to a more senior role at Chandler Secondary College.
    Police were notified in December, but were unable to identify any criminal offence.
    The Department of Education said the children did not embark on the task, and Mr Heiberg had been counselled.
    "Students never undertook this assignment, as it was removed from their computers as soon as the principal became aware of its existence," spokeswoman Melissa Arch said.
    "The school notified department officials, who agreed that while this material was inappropriate, it was appropriate to counsel the teacher, who had a previously unblemished record," she said.
    Mr Heiberg said sexual health and awareness was an important part of physical education.
    He insisted that Noble Park Secondary School principal Andy Stevenson backed him.
    "I sat down with the principal and he said, 'Look, there's nothing wrong with that'," Mr Heiberg said.
    Mr Stevenson issued a statement saying the issue had been properly handled: "This is an old issue dating back almost half a decade, which was promptly and appropriately dealt with."
    The Herald Sun this week revealed the VIT, which is currently under review, has cleared hundreds of teachers who have committed serious crimes as fit for the classroom.
    The VIT has refused to reveal details of the crimes, citing privacy laws.
    Teachers convicted of sex crimes against children are instantly deregistered.

  2. #2
    countybear's Avatar
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    The VIT has refused to reveal details of the crimes, citing privacy laws.
    Better known as "please do not notice that huge smelly lump under the rug..."

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