By Tom Morris
A JAMAICAN teacher who won a race discrimination case against Bristol City Council has settled the matter out of court.
After the event in February 2009, Mrs Eriksson told him: “This is not how we do it in British schools.”
To his disbelief Mr Lindsay, who separated the two pupils, aged eight and nine, by grabbing their collars, was charged with assault.
Despite working happily at more than 50 council-run schools Mr Lindsay, 39, of Westbury-on-Trym, found his life and reputation in tatters.
He was banned from working in council-run schools, lost his slot on Bristol urban radio station Ujima 98 FM, lost his place working on St Paul’s Carnival and was dismissed from the board of a nursery school.
He was subsequently cleared of assault at Bristol Magistrates’ Court and later won an employment tribunal against Bristol City Council for race discrimination.
He successfully argued the council failed to properly investigate his claim of racial harassment by Mrs Eriksson.
Now he has settled out of court for an undisclosed fee, written apologies and a review of council procedures.
“It was never about the money,” Mr Lindsay said.
“It would not have mattered if I had got no money at all – it was bigger than that.
“I had recognised a massive failure in the system and it needed to be addressed.
“This was not just for me. I hope what I have done means it won’t happen to anybody else.
“The changes and the apologies are more important to me and my family than anything. We are about principle and morality – not money.”
Following an internal and independent investigation at the council, recommendations were made as follows:
● All schools should have an up to date Race Equality Policy and train staff in the application of the policy.
● Where schools engage visiting specialists to work with children there should be adequate supervision by school staff at all times.
● Any allegations against adults should be dealt with in accordance with guidance set out in Safeguarding Recruitment in Education.
● All senior managers at the council were to be trained in equality and diversity.
Despite being cleared, Mr Lindsay says he can no longer live and work in Bristol – a city he loved, and has moved to London to rebuild his life.
And a recent trip to Abu Dhabi to teach children dance has given him some hope.
“Life is not the same and it will never be the same,” Mr Lindsay said.
“In reality I am still the victim of the situation and will never teach or live in Bristol.
“The dates of my arrest and court cases come round each year and remind me of that terrible time.
“I had been going in and teaching dance at Millpond Primary since 2002 and had wonderful plans but they were taken away from me.
“I went to Abu Dhabi with the World of Music Arts and Dance (Womad) and felt like a phoenix rising from the flames which has given me hope.
“Now for me a line has been drawn in the sand. I need to try and get on with my life but thank all of those who supported me through the trials.”
A spokeswoman for Bristol City Council said: “We recognise that this case raised very serious issues. An officer has been assigned to ensure an action plan was drawn up and is implemented.
“This includes ongoing diversity training for senior managers, which is now under way. The council plans to commission an independent review of progress, and the effectiveness of action taken, later this year.”