Teacher breaks down in tears after being convicted of kissing teenage pupil

Ashley McConnell, a physics teacher who taught in Caithness, Scotland, was found kissing the 17-year-old at a local nightclub in March 2018.

The commission will now have to determine whether Miss McConnell's fitness to teach is poor and whether she will be allowed to remain on the teaching record.
The commission will now have to determine whether Miss McConnell’s fitness to teach is poor and whether she will be allowed to remain on the teaching record.

A teaching watchdog found a teacher guilty of kissing and flirting with a pupil 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 of Scotland (GTCS).

The physics teacher, who was teaching in Kythence, was found to have kissed the teenage pupil at a local nightclub, Skandy, in March 2018.

The faculty also believed that there was sufficient evidence to prove that the married mother danced with him in a “court” manner.

McConnell, who was 30 at the time, told GTCS that she drank too much alcohol on the night in question and couldn’t remember everything.

Miss McConnell admitted that she was holding the hand of the Thurso High School pupil and also told the other pupils that evening to “get away” after they questioned her behaviour.






Miss McConnell is a physics teacher who studied at Thurso High School in Chithness





McConnell was fighting for her job during a hearing before the Public Teaching Council of Scotland

She also admitted to drinking an excessive amount of alcohol and giving a schoolgirl her middle finger.

The GTCS found that there was insufficient evidence to substantiate the claims that Miss McConnell touched the pupil in the groin area.

The committee will now have to determine whether McConnell’s fitness to teach is poor and whether she will be allowed to remain on the teaching record.

On Thursday, Miss McConnell claimed she had not touched alcohol since the night in question.

Struggling to stay on the teaching record, she said, “I realized that my behavior was not deficient, and I no longer drink alcohol, maybe if I hadn’t drunk that night, I wouldn’t be in the situation we are in.”

“I feel a great deal of regret and shame.






Miss McConnell refused to accept that she might have left a pupil to suffer long-term emotional damage

“Behavior of this nature will never be repeated, I hope you can see that my behavior at the time was in stark contrast to my typical personality. The danger of repetition is non-existent.

“My conduct at work has never been questioned, I have taken all the steps I can. I have made many, many changes.”

Miss McConnell refused to accept the idea that she might have left a schoolboy suffering long-term emotional damage after a kiss in a nightclub.

“Did I disturb him that night? Yes, and is he the one who allegedly stopped the events? Yes, but I don’t think it caused him long-term psychological harm,” she said.

Miss McConnell spoke of the effect of the night in question on her.

She said, “It really affected me, I haven’t been able to teach for four years.

“I could get another job but that doesn’t fill me with joy, I don’t feel excited or excited about it [another job].






Miss McConnell has been suspended from her job after worried students approached school heads with a video of the alleged incident

“I was doing private lessons but it’s not the same.”

GTCS also heard from Leslie Ann Walls, a teacher and friend of Miss McConnell, who said that the last time she saw Miss McConnell in person was at a wedding.

“It was a free bar with a lot of alcohol in and Ashley didn’t touch a single drop,” she said.

Earlier this week, the panel heard another colleague, Angela Sutherland, was out with McConnell on a March evening and couldn’t believe she was still standing.

She said, “The whole science department was in my house for my 50th birthday, we had takeaways and had some wine and beer.

“Ashley was drinking a lot in my house, that was before we went out, when I left her she was really drunk, she could barely tie the two words together.

“I was reasonably sober, because we were in my house. I didn’t really feel 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 hugged me a lot and she was joking around saying ‘I love you’, I don’t know how she was still standing.”

Miss McConnell faces being removed from her teaching record by the General Teaching Council of Scotland (GTCS) after an investigation into her alleged behaviour.

She was fired from her job after worried students approached school heads with a video of the alleged incident.

Students who were in the nightclub said the teacher was dancing in a “sexual” and “dirty” manner.

The Thurso High School pupil, who accused Miss McConnell of behaving inappropriately with school principals, said he kissed her “three or four times”.

The hearing is continuing.

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