Teacher struck off for Facebook messages to girl

The drama teacher made contact with his 14-year-old pupil 18 times via Facebook, including to ask for photographs of her

Teacher struck off for Facebook messages to girl

A drama teacher has been struck off after contacting a 14-year-old pupil via Facebook on 18 occasions.

Craig Smith, a former principal teacher of drama at Stonelaw High in South Lanarkshire, contacted the pupil, whom he taught, using Facebook Messenger. He commented on her appearance, asked her what she was wearing, and sent her photographs and videos of himself, as well as requesting photographs of her.

Some of the messages also contained “inappropriate language including the use of swear words” and “referred to school matters and included comments about teachers at Stonelaw High School”, stated evidence in General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) papers.

In total, over a three-month period from April to July last year, Mr Smith made contact with the pupil on 18 occasions over 15 different dates. There were also a number of failed telephone calls attempted by Mr Smith.

The GTCS summary of evidence stated: “Throughout the conversations the teacher used inappropriate language and swore on a number of occasions in a number of different ways. The teacher confirmed that he had also sent a video of himself in his garden, a picture of him away on a stag event and a picture of himself in a kilt to Pupil A.”

Mr Smith admitted the allegation in full and apologised for his behaviour and the adverse impact it had had. He said he was under “unexpected levels of stress” following the birth of his second son who had health problems post-birth. His partner had also been unwell, he said, and he had “increased responsibility at school following a temporary promotion”.

Mr Smith said the first time he made contact with the pupil he had been drinking, but admitted that there were two occasions when he contacted the pupil when he was not under the influence of alcohol. He said being suspended from his job had marked “a turning point” and he had sought help, including professional help.

However, a GTCS fitness-to-teach panel concluded the allegation was “very serious” and that his conduct was “fundamentally incompatible with the conduct of a registered teacher”. 

The panel stated that Mr Smith was “currently unfit to teach”.

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