Physics teacher faces probe over claims she 'kissed and groped' pupil

Ashley McConnell is alleged to have offered to 'fight the b****' and made offensive gestures to two other pupils.

Thurso teacher Ashley McConnell faces watchdog over claims she ‘kissed and groped’ pupil on night out STV News

A high school teacher is set to face a hearing over claims she kissed and groped a pupil during a night out.

Physics teacher Ashley McConnell allegedly danced in a “sexualised and/or flirtatious manner” with the teenager – known only as Pupil A – at Skinandi’s in Thurso.

She is also accused of messaging the same student when served with notice of a fitness to teach investigation by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) to ask for a written recommendation.

A hearing notice lists that McConnell and the Thurso High School pupil “held hands” before she touched him “on his bottom and on or around his groin area” late on March 24, 2018.

The GTCS panel also accused her of making an “offensive gesture” to two other pupils – listed as Pupil B and Pupil C – and telling them to “f*** off”.

She later offered to “fight the b**** if I have to” in reference to Pupil B, according to the allegations.

The watchdog launched a probe into her conduct in 2019 following the incident at the nightclub 12 months earlier.

In March of that year, it is claimed McConnell messaged the pupil on a social media app with a request to “help her case with everything that is going on right now”.

It allegedly read: “Hi [Young Person A], how are you? I need to ask a big favour. If you have time could you write a statement about me as a teacher? How brilliant and helpful I was. No I’m kidding, but seriously if you could write a little statement it would really help my case with everything that’s going on just now. I understand if you don’t want to or don’t have time so don’t worry if you can’t.”

The GTCS accuse McConnell of breaching sections 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.6, 2.5 and 2.7 of the GTCS Code of Professionalism and Conduct 2012.

A hearing is set to begin on Tuesday, June 7.

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