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Primary children play while teachers argue over affair

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Shopprice New Zealand

As children played nearby, a primary school teacher confronted a colleague who she believed was having an affair with her husband.

The teacher had recently been told she may die from a medical condition and was taking steroids with side-effects including psychosis when she was told about “intimate text messages” on her husband’s phone from an unidentified person.

The Teachers Council has released its decision on the case, suppressing details of those involved as well as the primary school where the incident happened.

Some of the confrontations between the two teachers took place as children played nearby, the decision stated.

The teacher and her husband had been at a family wedding overseas in December, 2013 when she was diagnosed with potentially-deadly kidney disorder nephrotic syndrome.

She was hospitalised for two weeks then, on a domestic flight en-route back to New Zealand, her condition worsened and she was hospitalised  and told “she would probably not survive to return to New Zealand”.

She did survive, and returned to New Zealand early last year.

But medication  she took had listed side effects including hair loss, swollen gums, loss of teeth  as well as “euphoria, insomnia, mood swings, personality change, depression and psychosis”.

A month after returning she was told of the “intimate” text messages on her husband’s phone.

She identified the person sending the messages as a friend she had helped get a job at the school.

The teacher “genuinely and with cause believed that her husband had been having an affair with her colleague”.

In March last year the teacher twice approached the other woman in a classroom to talk about the alleged affair. The first time there were no children in the room and the second time the other woman’s daughter was there but was told to leave.

“Offensive language” was used in each meeting.

The following month the teacher approached the other woman, who was on duty  and recorded the exchange on her cell phone.

“Children can be heard playing nearby, and on occasions approaching both the women.”

A month later the teacher found photographs of the other woman and “personal and intimate e-cards” on her husband’s computer and again approached the woman in the playground.

The brief exchange was “comparatively mild” but sparked an official complaint.

The teacher resigned from the school and was this year censured for serious misconduct.

She had since started teaching at another school, where management knew about the incidents

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