August 2019

Drama teacher, 37, is struck-off for sending pupil, 14, pictures and inappropriate messages on Facebook – including asking her what she was wearing

A drama teacher has been struck-off for inappropriate contact with a 14-year-old pupil on social media and sending her inappropriate messages.  

Craig Smith, 37, referred to the the 14-year-old girl’s appearance, asked her what she wearing and sent her photos of himself through Facebook.

He also used offensive language and made comments about colleagues and alcohol.

Smith was a principal teacher of drama at Stonelaw High School in Rutherglen, south Lanarkshire, and taught the pupil.

He sent her a ‘Facebook Messenger request’ and initiated conversations online on 15 separate occasions between April and July last year.

During that time the teacher sent a video of himself in his garden, a picture of him away on a stag event and a picture of himself wearing a kilt to the girl.

Smith was suspended by the school when the incidents came to light and has now appeared before a hearing of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).

He admitted the allegations against him and has now been struck-off the teaching register.

In a written ruling, the GTCS panel said: ‘Conversations, comments and questions by the teacher related to Pupil A’s appearance, what she was wearing at the time, alcohol, the school and teachers.

‘There was also evidence of the teacher requesting photographs of Pupil A. Throughout the conversations the teacher used inappropriate language and swore on a number of occasions in a number of different ways.

‘The teacher’s admitted conduct fell short of the expected professional standard. The allegation was very serious indeed and the conduct demonstrated in the allegation was fundamentally incompatible with the conduct of a registered teacher.

‘The conduct had persisted for some time. The teacher had sought to explain the reasons which led to the conduct. He had apologised for the conduct and demonstrated remorse.

‘The panel concluded that the shortfalls identified in the conduct had not been remediated and that at this stage there was a likelihood of reoccurence.’

Smith told the GTCS that he apologised for his behaviour and the adverse impact it had on the pupil, her family, his colleagues and his family.

He claimed he had been under stress at the time due to a family illness and a promotion at work.

He said that his first contact with the pupil had been whilst intoxicated and was a grave error of judgment.

Smith cannot apply to be re-registered for two years.