The 30-year-old teacher was ‘drunk and flirty’ that night, ‘she kissed the 17-year-old student at the nightclub’

Married physics teacher Ashley McConnell is accused of groping and kissing a 17-year-old student after meeting him at Skinandi’s nightclub in Thurso, Scotland, a tribunal has heard

Ashley McConnell
Teacher Ashley McConnell has been accused of groping and kissing a 17-year-old student

A teacher who allegedly groped and kissed a student one night “was drunk and flirtatious,” her friend and ex-colleague said at a court hearing.

Emilie Charton went to Skinandi’s nightclub in Thurso, Caithness, Scotland, with married physics teacher Ashley McConnell on the night in question in March 2018.

The couple, who both teach at Thurso High School, had known each other for about six months when they went out for drinks together.

French teacher Ms Charton said Ms McConnell had ordered Budweisers there and also Jack Daniels and Coke “two or three times” for herself.

She claims Ms McConnell, who was 30 at the time, was “beyond tipsy” and “felt like she wanted to party” the night she allegedly kissed a 17-year-old schoolgirl.

McConnell was suspended pending an investigation

She was described as “acting drunk and flirty” on the night

Ms Charton said she didn’t feel her colleague was in control but didn’t recall making any progress over anyone.

Ms McConnell is now at risk of being removed from the teaching register by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) following an investigation into her alleged conduct.

The mother-of-two has admitted to holding hands with the schoolboy at the nightclub but denies kissing him.

The tribunal heard on Tuesday the Thurso High School student told school principals he kissed her “three or four times.”

She was also accused of dancing with the student in a “sexualized manner” and touching his groin and bottom.

Ms Charton, who recently graduated from Thurso High School, testified at today’s hearing: “I met Ashley and had known her for about six months when we started dating.

The alleged incident took place at Skinandi’s nightclub in Thurso, Caithness

“I know our professional limitations with students and that we shouldn’t socialize with students on a personal level.”

Ms Charlton went on to say that if Ms McConnell had been sober “it would never have happened”, adding in reference to her friend looking to continue the night: “I was the one who had to push her away.”

She added, “Someone had tried to kiss her, it was getting late and I wanted to go home.”

They went to get a taxi around 3.15am and Ms Carlton said Ms McConnell had gotten into an altercation with a man and a woman she knew and “tipped the girl the finger”.

Thurso High School in Caithness

“I had never seen her flirtatious and all of this leads me to believe that she was not in control … it wasn’t behavior that I had seen.”

Ms Charlton said she had a glass of Prosecco with her evening meal and a couple of gin and tonics during the night and did not consider herself drunk, although not “completely sober”.

The teacher went on to say she received Ms McConnell’s registration class when she was suspended and the students “seemed quite sad, I had only heard good things about her”.

The former principal Dr. Fiona Grant told the panel on Tuesday she had launched an investigation after the allegations were made.

Ms McConnell was suspended after concerned students contacted school bosses with video of the alleged incident.

dr Captioning a still from the video, Grant said that “Miss McConnell’s hand is placed flat on Student A’s groin.”

Students who were at the nightclub said the teacher danced in a “sexualized” and “dirty” way.

Referring to her interview with the male student whom Miss McConnell allegedly kissed, Dr. Grant: “He had danced with the teacher three or four times for about 10 minutes.

“He felt that was inappropriate, personally he thought it went too far and distanced himself from the situation.”

dr Grant said the student claimed he finally told her to stop before he faded her out for the rest of the night.

Ms McConnell was also accused of telling two students at the club to “spank” and make a two-finger gesture.

She then allegedly said she would “fight the b***h” in reference to one of the students.

The hearing continues.

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