ONE spring afternoon last year, Daniel — a Year 6 contract teacher at a north-side Brisbane school — was herding his class along a path towards the music room.
At the rear of the mob he found himself flanked by two little girls who reached up, each gliding a hand into one of Daniel's giant paws. Then the three of them broke into song:
"We're off to see the wizard..."
A few days later, Daniel was summoned to the principal's office, where his female boss fixed him with an icy stare.
"I've had this complaint," she said, "about you touching children."
"I beg your pardon?" Daniel responded.
"What," his principal said, "do you do when you give them the Wizard of Oz?"
Today, Daniel, a 52-year-old insurance broker who re-trained as a teacher 10 years ago, still recoils at being cast as the instigator of some sexually depraved ritual.
"I thought, 'What the hell is going on?'" he says. "I was just holding their hands, out in the open."
"She (the principal) interviewed all the kids in the class about me and they all turned around and said nothing happens."
"It was soul-shattering. You know, intimating that I'm some dirty, dark creature who inhabits toilets."
"I felt like just walking out of the school that day and saying, 'P— off'."