A female teacher, Ashley McConnell, reportedly kissed a 17-year-old ‘three or four times’ in a nightclub and held him by groin as they danced in a ‘sexualised’ way, a tribunal hears.
Ashley McConnell, then 30, admitted holding hands with the 17-year-old student, known as Pupil A, at Skinandi’s nightclub in Thurso, Caithness in Scotland, in March 2018.
However, the physics teacher said she did not kiss or dance with the student in a sexualised manner, despite the teenager saying most of the kisses were ‘more than a peck’.
Other students who were also at the nightclub that evening described the student’s dancing with the teacher as ‘dirty’ and ‘sexualised’.
Dr Fiona Grant, a former head teacher of the school, launched an investigation over the allegations.
She found that concerned students approached school bosses with a video of the alleged incident.
Describing a still image taken from the video, Dr Grant said that ‘Miss McConnell’s hand is flat towards pupil A’s groin.’
Recounting her interview with Pupil A, Dr Grant added that the teen ‘indicated that he was the one to stop events between himself and Miss McConnell.’
After telling Miss McConnell ‘to stop’ Pupil A also alleged that the teacher attempted to make eye contact with him, with the student having to turn around to avoid this.
Miss McConnell now faces being struck off the The General Teaching Council for Scotland register following the beginning of their hearing.
Speaking, Grant told the panel: ‘My findings were that there was evidence of flirtatious dancing with Pupil A taking place in the nightclub.
‘There was a video shared to me of Pupil B and in the background Pupil A and Miss McConnell were dancing.
‘Overall I gathered evidence to support allegations of gross misconduct.
‘My professional opinion is that it fall short of the standards expected to find in a teacher registered with the GTCS.
‘I could tell by body language that Pupil A was embarrassed and uncomfortable about what had happened.
‘He indicated that he was the one to stop events between himself and Miss McConnell.
‘He said ‘it had gone too far’. He was clearly embarrassed about what he was having to talk about.
‘He had danced on three or four occasions with the teacher for around 10 minutes.
‘He described the dancing as flirtatious dancing, close at some parts with physical contact between each other’s bodies.
‘He viewed it as inappropriate, he personally felt it had gone too far and distanced himself from the situation.
‘He indicated Miss McConnell kissed him three or four times.
‘He then indicated that her attention towards him had gone too far and got annoyed. He told her to stop and blanked her for the rest of the night.
Pupil A told Dr Grant: ‘She did try to make eye contact with me but I turned away.
‘I clearly remember events, it’s just something you don’t forget. A pupil kissing a teacher.
‘Most of them were more than a peck.’
Describing a still from a video taken inside the nightclub she said: ‘You can see Pupil A and part of Miss McConnell’s body. Miss McConnell’s hand is close to his groin.
‘Miss McConnell’s hand is flat towards pupil A’s groin. I’m embarrassed looking at the picture describing it.
‘Pupil B described the dancing as ‘dirty’ or ‘sexualised’.
‘She (Miss McConnell) was clear that it may have happened and that it may not have happened.’