Teacher asked pupil, ‘is this your time of the month?’ and contacted teens on Facebook… But no punishment 27 June 2016
Paul Herbert was found fit to be in the classroom following disciplinary hearing.
He appeared before a General Teaching Council for Scotland panel to face allegations relating to his work at Ullapool High School between August, 2012 and September, 2013.
The computing teacher admitted a number of charges including making “friends” with several pupils on Facebook between May and August 2013, including over the school holiday period.
He also admitted creating a new page and communicating with a pupil after being “instructed” to remove his profile by Ullapool High head teacher Peter Harrison in September 2013.
Mr Herbert also used the website to contact an S5 pupil to tell her not to miss a revision class, and also admitted taking a mobile phone from an S4 pupil and connecting to his personal laptop while also keeping the device after the lesson had finished and the pupil was no longer present.
During the course of the hearing he was found to have asked an S5 pupil in front of a class: “Is it your time of the month?”
A further three charges were found not proven.
Mr Herbert declined to comment last night.
The panel heard from Iain Jackson, an education officer at Highland Council who investigated Mr Herbert after the allegations from pupils.
He told the hearing he felt the teacher had “gone a little too far” in his contact with pupils and “should have known better” than engage with them in the way he did.
Mr Harrison said Mr Herbert was a “dedicated” teacher but appeared to be under stress through long hours and lengthy travel to work.
He said felt the computing teachers action’s were not “sinister”.
A statement from one of the pupils said Mr Herbert was a “man who meant well but maybe introduced a slightly too relaxed classroom atmosphere”.
Mr Herbert gave evidence to the hearing, saying he regretted his actions and had “naively” thought it was a good idea to set up a website account to communicate about school work.
He said he now avoided social media, both in his personal life and at work.
He said he had struggled to keep boundaries at the time due to his out of school work on the Duke of Edinburgh awards scheme and a mountain biking club.
The teacher also said his move to Invergordon had been “positive”.
The panel found that Mr Herbert’s contacts with pupils was “ill considered but were not sinister”.
They ruled the experience had been a “salutary lesson” and that his misconduct was unlikely to be repeated and that his fitness to teach was not impaired.
SOURCE Press & Journal
A Highland teacher is facing a disciplinary hearing after being accused of making a series of “inappropriate” remarks to pupils.
Paul Herbert is alleged to have continued to secretly contact pupils on social media – despite being ordered to stop by his head teacher.
It is claimed that the 52-year-old also made several unprofessional comments to pupils in the classroom, including asking one girl: “Is it your time of the month?”
Mr Herbert will face a General Teaching Council for Scotland fitness to teach hearing next week.
The seven charges relate to his work as a teacher at Ullapool High School, and stretch over a period from August 2012 to September the following year.
The Press and Journal understands that the computing teacher, who previously lived in Inverness, left the school to take up a new job at Invergordon Academy in October 2014.
Yesterday, Mr Herbert declined to comment ahead of the hearing as he returned to his home in Ardgay, Sutherland.
Between August 2012 and June 2013, he is alleged to have asked an S6 pupil at Ullapool if it was her “time of the month” in front of a registration class.
On a different occasion, he is alleged to have told the same pupil “you must be used to that the morning after” in a classroom at the school.
Mr Herbert is also accused of commenting to an S4 pupil that she was “photogenic” in a message sent using social media.
Another charge states that between May and August 2013, and including during the school holidays, he sent “friend” requests to a number of pupils on Facebook.
During a study leave period in 2013, he is accused of using the same website to contact an S6 pupil, who was not taught by Mr Herbert, to tell her to make sure she attended a revision class.
Mr Herbert was “instructed” by his head teacher to remove his Facebook profile and cease his friendships with pupils on the site on September 2, 2013.
But despite the apparent warning, he is then accused of setting up another account afterwards, and using it to communicate with a pupil.
In further allegations, he is said to have opened a zip on the shirt of a pupil before attempting to place a 2p coin into the zip.
It is claimed as well that he was in possession of the same pupil’s phone while she was not present, having taken the device to connect it to his personal laptop, in order to access an online music service.
In September 2013, he is accused of making “inappropriate comments” to an S4 pupil during a Facebook conversation.
As a result of the charges, it is alleged that his fitness to teach is impaired.
Mr Herbert will appear before the General Teaching Council for Scotland on Tuesday for a hearing that is expected to last two days.
A Highland Council spokeswoman said the authority does not comment on staffing issues.
source press & journal