A CATHOLIC school teacher has been struck off after he chatted online with one of his own pupils – sending the girl a “kiss” after she asked: “Do you want a flash?”
English teacher James Murphy also failed to report an incident in which the same 14-year-old sent him notes, one of which had a condom attached to it saying she was pregnant.
Mr Murphy, who was sacked from his post at All Saints in Glasgow, was found to have failed to maintain boundaries with the pupil and failed “not to view or access inappropriate images of children”.
The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) hearing was told 51-year-old Mr Murphy accepted invitations to view a webcam from his pupil on three occasions.
Case presenter for the GTCS, Gary Burton, said Mr Murphy spoke to the girl on chat service MSN, sometimes using the name [email protected] or Leo.
Mr Burton read out parts of the conversations between the pupil and the teacher, which happened in May and early June 2009.
The pupil sent the teacher a webcam invitation and asked: “Do you want a flash?”
The invitation was accepted and the teacher sent a message in reply which was the letter X.
When the pupil asked “want more?”the teacher responded with “a further kiss,” Mr Burton said.
Mr Burton said the teacher claimed “he pressed the letter X by accident”.
“I would submit the letter X is well known to be used as a kiss and that is what was intended here,” said Mr Burton.
The hearing was also told the S3 pupil later sent Mr Murphy a note which said: “Dear sir, I really like you. I need to tell you something – I think I could be pregnant.
“I just want to know it’s me you want to be with and only me. I hope this doesn’t change anything between us.”
An “unused condom” was sent with the letter, Mr Burton said, which included a note saying “here is a treat for you and me.”
Mr Murphy told police the reference to the pupil being pregnant was “not by me”.
Mr Murphy, who was not present or represented at this week’s hearing, was asked by colleagues why he had not reported the notes, but he dismissed them as “silly nonsense.”.
The GTCS panel found Mr Murphy’s claims he had accepted the webcam invitations by mistake as “not credible.”
GTCS panel convener Hugh Paton said: “In any event the panel was of the view that for a teacher to have interacted in a non-professional way over a webcam with a pupil was entirely inappropriate, whether or not there was any sexual context in which such events took place.”
He continued: “[Mr Murphy] had opportunities to draw attention to the pupil’s behaviour in a number of ways, but that he deliberately chose not to do so.”