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GTCS suspends teacher alleged to have harassed pupil online

A teacher alleged to have told a pupil she was a "stunner" and repeatedly invited her to his home has been temporarily suspended in order to protect young people.

The GTCS disciplinary sub-committee has not decided on the guilt or otherwise of Richard Cantwell, formerly employed at Glasgow's All Saints Secondary, but saw enough evidence to bar him from teaching until a full hearing on December 14.

The history and modern studies teacher, 36, is alleged to have communicated with a female pupil through the Messenger Plus! social networking website in March 2009, having done so days previously and been warned not to by headteacher Gerry Lyons.

He is said to have given the girl a telephone number and invited her to call, and offered to pay for a taxi to his home in Airdrie. The charges allege he wrote "your a stunner", "want to come? Your welcome" and "your beautiful I think".

GTCS solicitor Niall McLean gave further details of an online exchange. The teacher - whose solicitor said he had problems with alcohol and depression - had asked the girl to identify who was with her at home. After she replied, "my dad and my wee brother", he suggested she take a taxi and asked, "So what are you waiting for?"

The girl queried whether he was being "a bit inappropriate", to which Mr Cantwell asked, "Why?" She said she knew what he had in mind and "you know how wrong that is".

"No I don't", replied Mr Cantwell, before the girl checked that he was asking her to get a taxi to his home. He wrote back: "Unless you want to run all the way".

When the girl wrote, "I know I shouldn't talk to you but it's unfair", Mr Cantwell replied, "So come here", but the girl insisted, "That's even worse".

Mr Cantwell has also been charged with conducting himself in a disorderly manner and shouting and swearing in the presence of two All Saints pupils, outside the Europa Bar in Glasgow's George Square.

The sub-committee decided there was enough evidence to suggest Mr Cantwell might pose a risk to young people. His temporary suspension means he retains GTCS registration but cannot seek a new teaching post.

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