Ashley McConnell: Teacher, 34, who kissed a student at a nightclub allowed to teach again
CAITHNESS, SCOTLAND: Ashley McConnell was a Physics teacher at Thurso High School in Caithness. According to reports, she kissed a 17-year-old student and danced flirtatiously with him at a Thurso nightclub. The teacher allegedly hurled expletives at other students at the club who protested against her behaviour while holding hands with the said student.
Following an inquiry into the event in 2018, the 34-year-old teacher has been engaged in a protracted legal struggle to maintain her employment. On Wednesday, August 10, the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) deemed her unfit to teach, but then later, allowed her to return as a teacher.
Even though the aforementioned student claimed that most of the kisses were 'more than a peck,' McConnell insisted that she did not kiss or dance with the student in a sexualized manner. She had gone out in honour of a coworker's 50th birthday. She admitted to the GCTS panel in July that she had had too much alcohol before heading out and was unable to recall specifics of what had transpired.
"I do not believe that she was in full control of her actions, she was more than tipsy and I do not remember her making any advances." a teacher, who was with her on that night, remarked.
"If she was sober it would never have happened as when people are drunk they do things they normally wouldn't. Ashley was feeling like she wanted to party, I was the one who had to push her away," she added.
The panel came to the conclusion that the teacher's actions were unexpected and neither intentional nor predatory. According to the investigation, it stated, "The panel considered that a combination of factors had influenced her behaviour on that evening. The panel considered that the teacher's behaviour was remediable in all the circumstances. The panel noted that the teacher had admitted some of the conduct found proved, and that she had both reflected and taken extensive steps to remediate."
"The panel considered that there was comprehensive and genuine regret and remorse, in addition to the teacher's fervent assurances of having learned her lesson," they concluded.