Banned: Teacher who sent ‘sexually explicit’ emails

Teacher who sent large number of emails with 'crude and vulgar' language to colleagues can reapply to teach in two years
28th January 2021, 4:25pm
Claudia Civinini

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Banned: Teacher who sent ‘sexually explicit’ emails

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/banned-teacher-who-sent-sexually-explicit-emails
Banned

A teacher who sent emails containing inappropriate language to his colleagues - and showed "a similar pattern of behaviour" with his correspondence with the Teaching Regulation Agency - has been banned from teaching for two years.

Oliver Peers was employed at The Hammond School, in Chester, as an English teacher from 1 September 2018 to 8 March 2019.

He was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct by a panel of the Teaching Regulation Agency and was forbidden to teach for two years, after which he will be able to apply for a review of the ban.

An investigation into Mr Peers' conduct started in February 2019 after he was alleged to have engaged in unprofessional behaviour towards staff and students. He was dismissed from his post at the school.

Allegations focused on a series of emails that Mr Peers had sent to staff members, some of which referred inappropriately to pupils.

One included a sentence saying, "I really love [Pupil B] and you can give it to me Ol Paedophile central! Always ask the [redacted] permission! Love-love [Pupil B]- love Ol."

Teacher 'used shocking language' in emails

These emails were found to be "worded inappropriately" and showing "poor judgement".

Other emails sent to staff were found to have language that was "frequently crude and vulgar, and sexually explicit".

They included content such as:

  • "Never be afraid of expressing your love for young people."
  • "Ps - I was laying there naked with a trans 19 and thinking: is it really that difficult?" 
  • "All I ask is that it be known I work hard, I'm a pretty good at English, and I'm not a paedophile. Love [Pupil B] ffs! Ha!"

The panel also noted the volume of emails sent by Mr Peers and that the school had deemed it necessary to ask him to stop sending them.

The report adds that the staff members receiving the emails were "likely to be shocked by the language and disturbed by the volume of emails being sent to them".

Mr Peers "stated that he had deliberately used coarse expressions in emails to remonstrate against the accusations of inappropriate conduct of which he perceived he was being accused", the report adds.

The panel considered that, when viewed together, for the volume of the emails sent and the language they contained, the conduct of Mr Peers amounted to "misconduct of a serious nature which fell significantly short of the standards expected of the profession" and it found him guilty of unacceptable professional conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute.

Mr Peers was also alleged to have met with pupils in Chester after he had left the school, but the panel found that he hadn't intended to do so - pupils had spotted him in Chester and engaged with him in conversation in a public space.

He was also found to have engaged with pupils on social media, and although the report specifies that he should have known better, the panel found that this behaviour was "inappropriate" but did not to amount to serious misconduct.

The panel also found that there was no evidence that Mr Peers' behaviour was sexually motivated.

Considering mitigating factors before banning Mr Peers from the profession, the panel found that he had not acted under duress.

The report also notes: "The panel is also minded that the evidence of his correspondence with the investigating officer appointed by the TRA shows a similar pattern of behaviour. In particular, his use of similar coarse language and the coherency and sheer volume of emails."

In considering public interest motivations not to ban Mr Peers from the profession, the panel found there "was no evidence put forward as to Mr Peers' previous good record" and that indeed Mr Peers had said he was not going to return to teaching "as he did not consider himself suitable to work in that capacity, both in respect of the professional and personal elements required of the role."

Acting for the secretary of state for education, Sarah Buxcey said she had considered the panel's comment regarding how "Mr Peers requires time to reflect further on his behaviour…and to find ways to address the issues that may be responsible for it" and "only once he has done so will he be able to satisfy any future panel that he can exercise sufficient self-control so as to ensure he is able to conduct himself in a professional manner".

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