NOBLE PARK, Australia - No criminal complaints were filed against an Australian teacher who reportedly advised his class of teenage boys to use the Internet to research pornography.
According to The Herald Sun newspaper in Australia, the incident took place in 2004 but was brought to light when local police were notified in December 2007.
Teacher Mark Heiberg kept his job at Noble Park Secondary College and has been promoted to a more senior position at Chandler Secondary College.
The Herald Sun reported that Heiberg distributed a worksheet to an eighth-grade boys' physical education class for an assignment titled "Is nudity and pornography the same thing?" Heiberg reportedly told his class to use to the Internet to research the topic, then asked them what would constitute suitable viewing for an 8-year-old boy or 9-year-old girl.
Heiberg stood by the assignment and said he did not intend for the children to download pornographic images.
"When I said ‘use the Internet,' I didn't mean ‘look at pictures of pornography,'" he told the Herald Sun. "It was to get a definition,"
The Department of Education said the children did not embark on the task and Heiberg had been counseled as a result.
"Students never undertook this assignment, as it was removed from their computers as soon as the principal became aware of its existence," Department of Education spokeswoman Melissa Arch told the newspaper. "The school notified department officials, who agreed that while this material was inappropriate, it was appropriate to counsel the teacher, who had a previously unblemished record."
The Victorian Institute of Teaching, a teacher watchdog group, did not interview Heiberg before deciding there was no case, The Herald Sun reported.
Local police found no criminal offense, the newspaper reported.