Ashley McConnell, a physics teacher who taught in Caithness, Scotland, is said to have kissed the 17-year-old student at a local nightclub in March 2018
An educational watchdog has found a teacher guilty of flirtatious kissing and dancing with a student at a local nightclub.
Ashley McConnell broke down in tears on Thursday as she fought for her job during a hearing before the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).
The physics teacher who taught at Caithness was found to have kissed the teenage student at a local nightclub, Skinandi’s, in March 2018.
The teaching panel also believed there was ample evidence that the married mother danced with him in a “flirty” manner.
McConnell, then 30, told GTCS she had been drinking to excess on the night in question and couldn’t remember everything.
Miss McConnell admitted holding hands with the Thurso High School boy and also told other students that night to “piss off” after they questioned her behavior.
She also admitted to drinking excessively and giving a student the middle finger.
The GTCS found that there was insufficient evidence to support the claims that Miss McConnell had touched the pupil on the buttocks or groin.
The panel must now determine whether McConnell’s teaching fitness is affected and whether she can remain on the teaching register.
On Thursday, Miss McConnell claimed she had not touched alcohol since the night in question.
Struggling to stay on the teaching register, she said: “I realized my behavior had fallen short, I’ve stopped drinking alcohol, maybe I wouldn’t be in the situation that we are in if I did that night would not have drunk alcohol in.
“I feel great regret and shame.
“Behaviour of this kind will never be repeated, I hope you will see that my behavior at that time was in stark contrast to my typical character. There is no risk of repetition.
“My behavior at work was never questioned, I took all the steps I could. I made many, many changes.”
Miss McConnell refused to accept that she may have left the student with lasting emotional damage after their kiss at the nightclub.
She said: “Did I bug him that night? Yes, and was he the one who allegedly stopped events? Yes, but no, I don’t think it caused him any lasting emotional damage.”
Miss McConnell spoke of how the night in question had taken its toll on her.
She said: “It did hit me, I haven’t been able to teach for the past four years.
“I could get another job, but I’m not happy about it, I’m not excited or passionate about it [another job].
“I’ve given private lessons, but it’s not the same.”
GTCS also heard from Miss McConnell’s teacher and friend, Leslie-Anne Wooles, who said the last time she saw Miss McConnell in person was at a wedding.
“It was a free bar with lots of alcohol and Ashley didn’t touch a drop,” she said.
Earlier this week the panel heard from another colleague, Angela Sutherland, who was out with McConnell that evening in March and couldn’t believe she was still standing.
She said: “The whole science department was at my house for my 50th birthday, we had some takeaway and had some wine and beer.
“Ashley used to drink a lot at my house, that was before we even went out, when I left her she was really drunk, she could barely get two words together.
“I was reasonably sober because we were at my house. I didn’t feel really drunk at any point that night and I was very aware of how drunk she was.
“She was drinking beer, but I think Jack Daniels too, and when I left she gave me a big hug and slurred her words ‘I love you,’ I don’t know how she was still standing.”
Miss McConnell is removed from the teaching register by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) following an investigation into her alleged conduct.
She was suspended from her job after concerned students contacted school principals with video of the alleged incident.
Students who were at the nightclub said the teacher danced in a “sexualized” and “dirty” way.
The Thurso High School student who was accused of inappropriate behavior by Miss McConnell told school principals he kissed her “three or four times”.
The hearing continues.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/teacher-breaks-down-tears-after-27319608 Teacher breaks down in tears after being found guilty of kissing teenager