Friends reunited as former pupils greet sacked teacher Miss Rusty at picnic

A POPULAR English teacher who was sacked for writing a racy novel enjoyed an emotional reunion with dozens of her former pupils yesterday.

Leonora Rustamova, 39, known to pupils and parents as Miss Rusty, was suspended earlier this year from Calder High School for writing a novel Stop! DoN'T ReAD tHis!

Miss Rusty received a rapturous reception from pupils, ex-pupils and parents at a picnic in a Hebden Bridge park.

Under the terms of her employment contract with the school she had been prevented from speaking to anyone involved with the school since her suspension was announced.

She said: "It's just heartbreaking. I feel a mixture of

being moved at how lovely it is and sadness at how the whole situation could have been avoided.

"I had to keep my sunglasses on for the first five minutes because I did feel quite tearful."

She said she was now considering whether to pursue a claim for unfair dismissal through an employment tribunal.

The novel, which she says was "accidentally'' published on the internet, contains references to pupils missing lessons, stealing phones and setting themselves on fire and also described one pupil as fantasising and flirting with Miss Rustamova.

A second English teacher, Steve Cann, who was also suspended with Miss Rusty, said he too had been moved by the reception at the picnic. He is retiring after 30 years at the school.

Hebden Royd councillor Janet Oosthuysen said: "I think it's great that the kids have finally got the chance to say goodbye to two great teachers who were very important to them."

Rob Good, chairman of Calder High governors, said earlier this month that it was quite clear she was guilty of misconduct in relation to the unsanctioned publication of material about the school and its students on the internet.