A NEWQUAY secondary school has come under fire for failing to tell parents that the head teacher was convicted of drink-driving.
Karen Ross, head at Treviglas College, was banned from driving for a year and fined £500 after her car was spotted travelling erratically on the A30 and almost clipping the verge on a roundabout.
She was stopped by police officers on July 18 this year and failed a roadside breath test, recording 56mcg of alcohol in her breath – 21 points over the legal limit.
Mrs Ross, 52, who lives in Treskillard near Redruth, has no previous convictions and pleaded guilty to the offence at a hearing at Truro Magistrates' Court on August 29.
But despite three months elapsing since she was charged with the offence – and six weeks since her conviction – parents say the school have not kept them informed.
It has also been revealed that some school governors were not aware of the situation – and that the chair of governors felt Mrs Ross's conviction was a "personal matter" and would not affect her role as head teacher.
Newquay police and national drink-drive charities have spoken out against drink-driving and have stressed the seriousness of the offence.
One father slammed the college for keeping news of Mrs Ross's conviction from parents.
He said: "The school has not sent anything out to parents to deny or explain what everyone is saying. That's more the issue for me. We should be informed."
A student at the secondary school said Mrs Ross had been approached continually by pupils asking about her offence.
She added: "I think it's quite bad because she's the head teacher and she should be setting an example. If someone gets caught smoking then they get told off but she was caught drinking and driving."
Guidelines by the Teaching Agency on behalf of the Department for Education (DfE) suggest a drink-drive conviction can amount to misconduct as it affects a teacher's ability to act as a role model and brings the profession into disrepute. A spokeswoman for the DfE said she was not aware of Mrs Ross's case and Cornwall Council has confirmed it is a subject for the governors to discuss primarily, rather than the authority.
Mrs Ross declined to comment. However, Patricia Hewitt, head of the council's media relations team, said: "The council is aware of the conviction of the head teacher. The issue is a matter for the governing body to deal with as her employers."