The Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal has found a teacher guilty for serious misconduct for an inappropriate relationship with a high school student.

The teacher and the student had a working relationship for 10 months, during which the teacher provided the student with advice regarding his career opportunities and his mental health.

The pair then had a conversation about the feelings they felt toward each other. These feelings were beyond what was appropriate in a student-teacher relationship.

The teacher subsequently kissed the student whilst sitting in the teacher’s car. They went on to kiss 4 more times in the week that followed.

It was decided by the Tribunal that the teacher’s actions amounted to serious misconduct.

This decision was made on the basis that the inappropriate relationship had negative effects on the student. As well as this, the actions of the teacher reflected poorly on her ability to perform the role. Lastly, there is a clear expectation that a teacher will not enter into an inappropriate relationship with a student. It was found that doing so in this case negatively impacted the reputation of the teaching profession as a whole.

The Tribunal censured the teacher and cancelled her teaching registration.

It is important that teachers do not enter into inappropriate relationships with their students. In this case the consequence for the teacher was the loss of her career, and a requirement to pay costs. The teacher should not have allowed her relationship with the student to cross from professional to personal.

If there are concerns that a teacher is involved in an inappropriate relationship with a student, it is wise to speak with a professional experienced in this area.

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