Teacher, 30, accused of 'groping and kissing pupil', 17, after being 'flirty' at nightclub

10 June 2022, 07:09

Ashley McConnell was accused of flirtatious dancing
Ashley McConnell was accused of flirtatious dancing. Picture: Ashley McConnell

By Emma Soteriou

A married female teacher has been accused of 'groping and kissing' a 17-year-old after acting 'flirtatiously' in a nightclub.

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Ashley McConnell, then 30, had gone to Skinandi's nightclub in Thurso, Scotland in March 2018.

She went with another teacher from the same school - Thurso High School - called Emilie Charton.

Ms Charton said McConnell had been ordering Budweisers and Jack Daniels and cokes for herself "two or three times".

She claimed McConnell was "more than tipsy" and "feeling like she wanted to party".

But she could not remember her making advances towards anyone.

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Giving evidence at a hearing earlier in the week, Ms Charton, who recently left the high school, said: "I met Ashley and had known her for about six months when we went out.

"I know our professional boundaries with pupils and that we should not be socialising on a personal level with pupils.

"Ashley was drinking Jack Daniels and coke while also ordering Budweiser and she did this maybe two or three times.

"I do not believe that she was in full control of her actions, she was more than tipsy and I do not remember her making any advances.

"If she was sober it would never have happened as when people are drunk they do things they normally wouldn't.

"Ashley was feeling like she wanted to party, I was the one who had to push her away.

"I called for a taxi at about 3:15am and left the club to make a 30 second call, when the club closed we met a man Ashley knew."

Dr Fiona Grant, a former head teacher from the school, revealed to the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) panel how she launched an investigation into the allegations.

Recounting her interview with the male pupil that McConnell allegedly kissed, known as Pupil A, Dr Grant said: "He had danced on three or four occasions with the teacher for around 10 minutes.

"He described the dancing as flirtatious dancing, close at some parts with physical contact between each other's bodies.

"He viewed it as inappropriate, he personally felt it had gone too far and distanced himself from the situation.

"He indicated Miss McConnell kissed him three or four times.

"He then indicated that her attention towards him had gone too far and got annoyed.

"He told her to stop and blanked her for the rest of the night."

McConnell now faces being struck off the teaching register by the GTCS following the investigation over her alleged behaviour.

She admitted holding hands with Pupil A at the club.

However, she said she did not kiss or dance with the student in a sexualised manner.

The hearing continues.

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