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NewsScots teacher was 'drunk and acting flirtatious' on night she allegedly groped...

Scots teacher was ‘drunk and acting flirtatious’ on night she allegedly groped and kissed pupil

A SCOTS teacher ‘was drunk and acting flirtatious’ on the night she allegedly groped and kissed a pupil at a local nightclub, according to her friend and former colleague.

Emilie Charton went to Skinandi’s nightclub in Thurso, Caithness, with married physics teacher Ashley McConnell on the night in question in March 2018.

The pair, who both taught at Thurso High School, had known each other for around six months when they went to the nightclub together for drinks.

Ashley McConnell
Ashley McConnell is alleged to have kissed a pupil in Skinandi’s nightclub. Credit: Deadline News

French teacher Ms Charton said that whilst there Miss McConnell was ordering Budweisers and also Jack Daniels and cokes for herself “two or three times”.

She claims Miss McConnell, who was 30 at the time, was “more than tipsy” and “feeling like she wanted to party” on the night she allegedly kissed a 17-year-old pupil.

Ms Charton said she did not feel her colleague was in control but said she can’t remember her colleague making advances towards anyone.

Miss McConnell now faces being struck off the teaching register by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) following an investigation over her alleged behaviour.

The mum-of-two has admitted to holding hands with the schoolboy at the nightclub but denies kissing him.

The tribunal heard yesterday how the Thurso High School pupil told school bosses that he kissed her “three or four times”.

Ashley McConnell taught at Thurso high school
Ashley McConnell was a physics teacher at Thurso high school. Credit: Google Maps

She has also been accused of dancing in a “sexualised way” with the student and touching him around the groin and bum.

Giving evidence at the hearing today, Ms Charton, who recently left Thurso High School, said: “I met Ashley and had known her for about six months when we went out.

“I know our professional boundaries with pupils and that we should not be socialising on a personal level with pupils.

“Ashley was drinking Jack Daniels and coke while also ordering Budweiser and she did this maybe two or three times.

“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.

“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.

“I called for a taxi at about 3:15am and left the club to make a 30 second call, when the club closed we met a man Ashley knew.

“I did not hear everything that Ashley was saying to the man as they were quite far away but the girl made her comments quite loud.

“Ashley was drunk, more aggressive and sensitive to the comments when she gave the girl the finger.

“I had not seen her act in a flirtatious manner before and all of this makes me think she was not in control.

“Well she was not sober, but I had not seen Ashley be heavily influenced by alcohol in this way and it was not a behaviour I had seen.

“I had not seen her flirt or be in control of her actions, I had only seen her in work or in social settings.

“…Someone had tried to kiss her, it was getting late and I wanted to go home.

“I don’t leave my friends by themselves, she was drunk there had been an altercation, I just thought it would be better if we left.”

“I don’t drink very much, I had a glass of prosecco at dinner and then maybe I might have had a couple of gin and tonics which is my drink of preference when I am out but I would not describe myself as entirely sober but I think tipsy would still be quite strong.

“I would say my recollection is fairly accurate to the best of my ability to remember things.”

Skinandi's nightclub
It was at Skinandi’s nightclub that the teacher allegedly kissed her pupil. Credit: Google Maps

She added: “I was given her registration class while she was suspended and they seemed quite sad, I had only heard good things about her as a teacher.”

Dr Fiona Grant, a former head teacher from the school, revealed to the GTCS panel yesterday how she launched an investigation into the allegations.

Miss McConnell was suspended after concerned pupils approached school bosses with a video of the alleged incident.

Describing a still image taken from the video Dr Grant said that “Miss McConnell’s hand is flat towards pupil A’s groin.”

Students who were at the nightclub said the teacher was dancing in a “sexualised” and “dirty” manner.

Recounting her interview with the male pupil that Miss McConnell allegedly kissed, known only as Pupil A, Dr Grant said: “He had danced on three or four occasions with the teacher for around 10 minutes.

“He described the dancing as flirtatious dancing, close at some parts with physical contact between each other’s bodies.

“He viewed it as inappropriate, he personally felt it had gone too far and distanced himself from the situation.

“He indicated Miss McConnell kissed him three or four times.

“He then indicated that her attention towards him had gone too far and got annoyed.

“He told her to stop and blanked her for the rest of the night.”

Miss McConnell has also been accused of telling two pupils at the club to “f**k off” before gesturing two fingers at them.

She then also allegedly said she would “fight the b***h” in reference to one of the female pupils.

The hearing continues.

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