'Serious misconduct' sees teacher suspended

Last updated 09:13 11/02/2014

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A teacher has been censured and suspended after a tribunal was told he gave a female student alcohol at his home and stripped to his underwear.

In a decision released today, the Teachers' Disciplinary Tribunal censured the teacher and suspended him for 12 months for serious misconduct.

The contact with the student started in August 2012, when the teacher's house was burgled and he started receiving texts from an anonymous number, the tribunal's report said.

After six weeks he met the mystery person for coffee and it turned out to be a 17-year-old female student from the school where he was teaching, who had no knowledge of the burglary.

A few days later the girl texted the teacher to ask for a ride to a rugby game and the teacher agreed.

After the game the girl said she was having family issues and could not go home.

The teacher took her back to his home about 7pm and told the tribunal he assumed her father would pick her up later.

He offered her a vodka mixer, which had a 7 per cent alcohol content, and she drank two over the course of the night.

He cooked her dinner and drank five beers, telling the tribunal it was "my Saturday" and he "didn't think he needed to change his behaviour because she was there".

The teacher lit a fire in the living room and pulled a mattress in front of it.

He got on the mattress and patted it, asking if she wanted to sleep there, the report said.

The girl declined and said she would sleep on the couch.

At this point the teacher stripped to his underwear, and lay on the mattress with his head leaning on her legs.

He fell asleep and did not wake until the morning, at which time he took the girl home, the report said.

The girl told her mother what happened and the mother complained to the school.

The tribunal found the actions of the teacher to be serious misconduct, likely to bring discredit to the teaching profession.

Upon the end of his one-year suspension the teacher must complete a professional development programme, to understand the proper boundaries with students, before he will be allowed to teach again.

He must also provide a copy of the tribunal decision to any prospective employers.

Names, locations and the school involved were all suppressed.

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