Banned: Teacher sent student 'deeply personal' emails

Ban for teacher who tried to 'emotionally coerce' student into replying to his persistent messages and sent her £40

Banned

A head of music who shared "deeply personal" information with a student and sent her £40 has been banned from teaching for at least three years.

Karl Huber, who taught at Ashfield School, Nottinghamshire, was found by a professional conduct panel of the Teaching Regulation Agency to have failed to maintain appropriate professional boundaries with the student.

He admitted that he had provided her with his personal telephone number, corresponded with her online and via typed and handwritten letters, and encouraged her to falsify his name in her contacts to disguise his identity.

Mr Huber also admitted that he sent the pupil a birthday card containing a gift of £40.

He sought "persistently" to contact her when she did not respond to his messages and tried to "emotionally coerce her into providing a response", the panel found.

Teacher 'abused his position of trust'

The panel said it saw emails aimed at coercing the pupil into responding "through both the emotional content and the subject headers of the emails", though it did not go into what these contained.

Mr Huber, the panel concluded, was seeking a relationship with the pupil "beyond that of an appropriate professional relationship" and "was abusing his position of trust as a teacher through sharing deeply personal information and seeking emotional support from her".

The panel accepted, though, that his invitation to her to see a show in London had a reasonable explanation as it would have been a departmental trip and have needed parental permission.

Panel members saw an email from Mr Huber to the student in which he provided his mobile number and stated, “as a professional I shouldn’t really, but I trust you completely not to use it wrongly”.

They also saw an email to another student, who was asked to talk to the student about her failure to respond to Mr Huber’s messages.

Given his admissions, the panel concluded that Mr Huber had committed unacceptable professional conduct and conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute.

It recommended a banning order with a review period after three years, as he had “shown some insight into his actions” and admitted these had been inappropriate, but the panel decided he “required further time to reflect on the reasons for his actions and develop his understanding of clear professional boundaries”.

Department for Education decision-maker Alan Meyrick agreed to this.
 

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