AN MSP is calling for an independent inquiry into Scottish Borders Council after a teacher was found guilty of assaulting children.
Linda McCall, 60, appeared at Selkirk Sheriff Court last week and was found guilty of five charges of assaulting pupils aged between five and seven years old during a 14-month period. She was also found guilty of one charge of threatening or abusive behaviour.
A previous trial involving McCall, from Earlston, took place last July but the sheriff ruled there was no case to answer.
Following the recent guilty verdict, parents of the abused children said that council officials had done “everything they could to sweep this under the carpet”.
Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale MSP Christine Grahame, of the SNP, says the blame lies “at the door” of the council.
“There very clearly now needs to be an independent inquiry into how this was handled,” said Ms Grahame.
“That an internal investigation by Scottish Borders Council found no wrongdoing, when the same case later met the threshold for a guilty verdict in court, is very concerning.
“The parents were not taken seriously when they came forward and the council should not have been allowed to investigate itself. I find it hard to believe that no-one realised the teacher was out of her depth and needed support.
“The consequence has been that vulnerable children have been left with lasting damage and trauma.”
Ms Grahame added: “The blame lies at the door of Scottish Borders Council and they must now answer for it. This case has not been handled at all well at any stage.”
A spokesperson for SBC said: “The safety and wellbeing of young people in our schools is paramount.
“Any concerns are treated very seriously and there are robust policies and procedures in place to ensure matters are properly addressed.
“We cannot comment on individual employee-related matters.”