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Cardiff teacher struck off for year after asking pupil to share bath

A Cardiff teacher has been struck off for a year after going onto the internet to ask a teenage girl pupil to share a bath with him.

Nathan John, 36, went on to social networking sites Bebo and MSN Messenger to chat to girls from his school.

A disciplinary hearing was told the technology teacher used words and phrases popular with teenagers to fit-in with his pupils while on-line.

But concerns were raised when two pupils reported him to the headmaster.

Case presenter Emma Poole said: “A student complained saying John was using disturbing and inappropriate comments to her.

“While online John told her: “I will see you in school and smack your bottom.

“She told him that she had to go because she was having a bath.

“He replied: “Can I join you?” – and she said: “No”.

The hearing was told he also told the girl: “I’ve been to the sauna all my bits are shrivelled.”

An internal investigation discovered Mr. John sent the girl a Christmas card and told her: “I bought this card because it is lush like you.”

When questioned about the word “lush” he explained it was often used in the popular TV comedy Gavin and Stacey.

Mr. John was investigated by police after requesting to take a photograph of another teenage girl pupil, aged 13.

Miss Poole said: “The girl was on MSN messenger when John asked if he could join her network.

“He asked if she had a boyfriend but she said she didn’t because she had low confidence.

“John asked to take a photograph of her to boost her self confidence and told her not to show it to anyone else.”

Mr. John was suspended on full pay for 13 months then dismissed from his £27,000-a- year job at Llanrumney High school in Cardiff.

Headteacher Donald Barnfield told the hearing that John was investigated after two girls complained about him.

He said: “They did not want to go to his lessons because they said he made them feel uncomfortable.

“They said he contacted them on Bebo saying things like: “Hiya Babes”.

“He thought it was an appropriate way to talk to pupils of that age, using their language.

“Mr John said his actions were innocent but realised it could have been seen as inappropriate.”

Mr. John, who taught at the school for four years, did not attend the hearing of the General Teaching Council for Wales professional conduct committee in Cardiff and was not represented.

The committee heard he sent a letter claiming it was a “misunderstanding.”

Mr. John was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and suspended him from teaching for 12 months.

Committee Chairman Jacquie Turnbull said: “This was conduct that fell short of the standard expected of a registered teacher.

“Such contact made the pupils feel uncomfortable and anxious.

“Although he apologises pupils were adversely affected, his actions were not isolated and they were deliberate.

“There is a duty of teachers to maintain public confidence in the profession including appropriate relationships between pupils and teachers.”

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Discussion

One thought on “Cardiff teacher struck off for year after asking pupil to share bath

  1. Teacher student relationships are unhealthy the vast majority of the time in the UK.

    Usually they are at the opposite end of the spectrum to this case, in that the teacher is like a robot with no personality or feelings and the students often treat them like they aren’t people.
    I think that’s both of their faults, maybe mostly the fault of the people who make policies preventing teachers + students developing relationships that are close, but healthy, unlike Nathan John.

    So I think in a less anxious environment, less contaminated with hysteria about paedophilia etc, Nathan could’ve probably been a good guy, but obviously he’s a potential threat now, and I don’t think taking a year off is likely to resolve his problem.

    Posted by Luke Flegg | January 14, 2011, 3:51 pm

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