Potty mouth: Plumbing tutor sacked after drinking, insulting students and more

David Coxhead was a plumbing tutor at the Eastern Institute of Technology in Napier. Photo/Warren Buckland

A plumbing tutor has been fired from the Eastern Institute of Technology after he swore at his students, calling one of them a ‘creepy idiot’ and forgetting to show as much as train an evening class.

At the time of his dismissal, David Coxhead had already obtained a written warning from Hawke’s Bay Higher Education Institution for letting students in a block course leave 45 minutes early and later become a member of a few of between them for a drink in a pub.

EIT considered this to be “unprofessional behaviour”, based on a choice by the Employment Relations Authority.

Coxhead appealed his dismissal to authority, seeking wrongful dismissal and compensation for misplaced wages, damages and humiliation.

Authority member Claire English rejected his statement and said Coxhead’s language towards his students was “harsh, disrespectful and inconsistent with Mr. Coxhead’s duties to teach, mentor and support students. students in their learning.

Coxhead was training level 3 and 4 apprentice plumbers throughout 2020.

In October of that year, he was teaching a “practice” on a bouldering course that had been done around 3:15 p.m., 45 minutes earlier. He ordered the students to leave.

He then left work and ended up in a nearby pub. He found that some of the older students were already there, so he sat with them and had a couple of beers before heading home around 5 p.m.

He was invited to a disciplinary hearing by Fred Koenders, who was then Dean of Government at the School of Business and Technology.

Koenders told him that block programs required a minimum number of instructional hours, so any remaining time should have been filled with different educational activities, and that drinking with students was not professional behavior.

Coxhead told Koenders that he had seen different plumbing professors leaving early and was unaware that drinking with students was in line with EIT’s code of conduct.

He received a written warning.

The following month, on November 6, EIT received a complaint from another tutor that Coxhead had failed to form an evening course which he had agreed to cover. Coxhead said he forgot and went to an appointment regarding his well-being.

On November 10, an apprentice complained that Coxhead had often verbally abused him and other students, and that “the profanity was often extreme.”

“A lot of people in the class were told they would never become skilled craftsmen, they were told they were idiots and losers,” complained the apprentice.

“The learning environment Dave is creating is not one I want to be in again.”

On the same day, a plumbing firm emailed EIT saying it no longer needed its apprentices to attend trade school if Coxhead was the tutor.

“His level of professionalism is non-existent, he is derogatory, aggressive and his language is absolutely shocking,” the email reads.

Coxhead was suspended on pay.

Summoned to a disciplinary council, he confirmed that he had known as a student a “tramp” and another an “effing idiot”.

He told Koenders he “knew how to handle those rat bags.”

Coxhead also admitted that he made a student cry.

English said in his determination: “Mr Coxhead explained this by saying that strong language is a feature of the plumbing workforce and it was nothing more than what students could expect to be exposed when they started working.”

When Koenders wrote to Coxhead offering to terminate his contract, Coxhead wrote again that he was “barred, and that (other appointed guardians) may commit the same alleged breaches and not be arrested for them” .

A lawyer for Coxhead told Open Justice that Coxhead was “very disappointed” in the decision to reject his statement.

Potty mouth: Plumbing tutor fired after drinking and insulting students

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