A Christchurch high school teacher who discussed sex acts, drug use and his students on a podcast has been found guilty of misconduct.
Samuel Stokes was a teacher at Christchurch’s Hornby High when he appeared on his friend’s show, Cancel broadcastin November 2019.
In the episode, Stokes named students, ridiculed their work, and said he taught while still on drugs.
He also made derogatory comments about an ex-girlfriend, described threesomes and discussed a former colleague’s inappropriate relationship with a student.
Conor Fenelon, the podcast’s creator and host, initially agreed to keep Stokes anonymous and said he could verify the content before it was published.
But Fénelon published the episode without letting him check it.
The 98-minute episode was available for public streaming on sites including Spotify and Apple Podcasts for several weeks before being removed.
Two members of the public complained to Hornby High about the podcast, prompting Principal Robin Sutton to write a report to the Teaching Council.
The New Zealand Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal said it had no difficulty concluding the behavior was serious misconduct.
“The basis of Mr Stokes’ participation in the podcast was his profession and his role as a teacher was much discussed. The Tribunal agreed … that by his conduct, Mr. Stokes displayed a serious lack of judgment when he agreed to participate,” the report for the hearing states.
The Tribunal found that Stokes knew his conduct was unacceptable when he said during the podcast: “Teaching Board, if you’re listening to this, please don’t revoke my licence.”
He told the Tribunal that peer pressure was a factor in his participation and that any comments made about drug use were made up, as he has never used drugs recreationally.
“Stokes made a colossal mistake by participating in the podcast. Having to re-listen to what he said on the podcast and the way he spoke is embarrassing and he is ashamed. He expressed extreme remorse,” the report reads.
The Tribunal fined Stokes $4,708 and ordered him to write a reflective statement, undertake mentoring and disclose the matter to all employers for the next two years.
He currently works as a social studies and business teacher at Rolleston High School.