Porn blunder teacher struck off and faces ban on working with children

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AN IT teacher is set to be banned from working with young children for the rest of his life – after he accidentally showed porn to a class of 13-year-olds.

Stephen Lawrie, 56, accessed an x-rated website on his computer while teaching and unwittingly projected the scenes onto an interactive smartboard.

He was banned from the profession at a General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) hearing held today (Thurs).

But the watchdog also took the unusual step of trying to disqualify the teacher from working with children indefinitely.

The GTCS hearing was held in Edinburgh
The GTCS hearing was held in Edinburgh

Mr Lawrie worked at Coatbridge High School in North Lanarkshire when he accessed the inappropriate website in April 2015.

The council launched a four-month investigation following the incident, before terminating Mr Lawrie’s contract in August.

At the hearing held in Edinburgh, he faced a charge that “On 27 April 2015…you did access an inappropriate pornographic website whilst teaching an S2 class and did cause the contents of the website to be projected onto the classroom smartboard and viewed by the class.”

Mr Lawrie was neither present nor represented at the hearing, but had previously given his consent to be removed from the register.

The panel read out his declaration, which stated: “I waive my right to have a full hearing and admit the following allegations made against me relating to my fitness to teach in full.”

It went on: “I freely and willingly consent to being removed from GTC Scotland’s Register of Teachers in view of my admission of the allegations set out above and understand that I will be prohibited from applying for restoration to that Register for a period of two years.”

However, the panel decided that wasn’t enough – and now want to place him on a list of persons unfit to work with children in any capacity.

Barred

Hugh Paton, convenor of the panel, said: “The panel agrees that the Registrant should be removed from the register in view of the facts admitted.

“The panel has also decided that it is appropriate that the Registrant’s name is referred to Scottish Ministers for consideration in connection with inclusion on the list of those barred from working with children and vulnerable young adults.”

If the Scottish Government agrees to their recommendation, it means that Lawrie will be prohibited from working with children for the rest of his life.

The panel explained the reasoning behind their decision, stating: “The Panel decided to make a referral because it considered…that the Respondent had placed children at risk of harm and engaged in inappropriate conduct involving pornography.”

On the website Rate my Teacher, Lawrie received high ratings from pupils. One student described Lawrie as a ‘nice friendly guy’.

Writing in 2007, the pupil said: ‘Nice friendly guy, just remember to square up your monitor.’

According to its website, Coatbridge High School is a non-denominational co-educational comprehensive school.

With more than 1,000 students, the school serves the town of Coatbridge and surrounding areas.

It was the second time in one day that the GTCS panel had made the decision to refer a former teacher to Scottish Ministers to have their name included on a list of those disqualified from working with children.

Earlier this morning (Thurs), Dayna Dickson-Boath, a former Named Person who was in charge of welfare for over 200 pupils, was struck off the register for sharing sick fantasies about abusing youngsters.

The same GTCS panel decided that her name should also be referred to the government to try and include it on the list, due to the seriousness of the offence.

Just four months ago, another teacher accidentally opened a porn website in front of a class at Inverness Royal Academy.

An investigation was launched after the teacher inadvertently clicked on a link which flashed up an explicit movie in front of 12 and 13-year-olds.

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