Teacher who ‘groped and kissed a student at nightclub’ told ‘two other guys at workplace to f*** off’

A teacher who allegedly ‘served and kissed’ a student at a nightclub also asked two other students to ‘f*** off’ at the venue, a hearing has been told.

Pupils reported 34-year-old Ashley McConnell to other members of staff at Thurso High School in Caithness, Scotland, after feeling ‘outraged’ by her alleged behaviour.

The physics teacher, also known as Ashley Swanson, is alleged to have danced sexually with a sixth-year student in March 2018 at a nightclub in a local Scinandi’s.

He has also been accused of kissing a 17-year-old girl, touching her under and waist and shaking hands with her during the night.

Miss McConnell, who was then 30 and married, admits to holding hands with the teen but refuses to kiss her.

Earlier this month his friend and former colleague Emily Charton, who was with him at night, said McConnell was drunk and acting flirtatious in a nightclub.

On Monday, the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) heard evidence from Thurso High School headmaster Katherine McKay, who investigated the claims.

Miss McConnell was removed from the teaching register by the General Council for Scotland (GTCS) following an investigation into her alleged behaviour.

Ashley McConnell, a 34-year-old physics teacher accused of groping and kissing a teenage student at a local nightclub in Caithness, Scotland, told school owners she did not remember the incident.

Hiding the identities of the students involved, she said: ‘Students B, C, D and E came into my office with a guidance teacher and told me they were at a nightclub and that Miss McConnell had kissed Pupil A.

‘There also appears to have been an argument between Ashley and one of the girls.

‘Yeah, the guidance teacher took him to my office, he sat there and told me.

‘ He said that he had seen disciple A kissing the teacher.

‘I was shown video footage on Tuesday March 27th – I could see Pupil B dancing and Pupil A and Ashley McConnell standing and talking, just as they were doing.

‘From what he said, I didn’t think Miss McConnell should have behaved like that, I don’t think she should have been in a nightclub among her students.

‘that [the kiss] This should not happen, we are teachers, we should not have this kind of relationship at all.

The physics teacher, also known as Ashley Swanson, works at Thurso High School in Caithness (pictured).  He has also been accused of kissing a 17-year-old girl, touching her under and groin and holding her hands during the night.

The physics teacher, also known as Ashley Swanson, works at Thurso High School in Caithness (pictured). He has also been accused of kissing a 17-year-old girl, touching her under and groin and holding her hands during the night.

‘My personal opinion I believe that we should behave in a way that does not bring disrepute to the profession.’

‘Ashley came up to me and said she didn’t remember the incident, I was advised to suspend her immediately what I did, she started crying.’

A former male student, who had been tutored privately for a year at McConnell’s home and was also on the night, gave evidence in McConnell’s defence.

He added: ‘It will have a negative impact on the community and the school [if she was struck off]She is a great teacher and it will be harmful for the students.

‘I would describe her as a good teacher, she was a bit more grounded than some of the older teachers, I think she was well liked by the students and staff.’

The student claimed that although he was in the nightclub in Scinandi that night, he did not remember that Miss McConnell had acted inappropriately.

He said: ‘It was subjective to say that they were drunk but no, I am not an expert but in my personal opinion I would not say that she was highly intoxicated.

‘I didn’t see those incidents that night.

‘I didn’t see that incident happen.’

Dr Fiona Grant, the school’s former headmaster, revealed to the GTCS panel earlier this month how she began investigating the allegations.

Miss McConnell was suspended after concerned pupils contacted school owners with video of the alleged incident.

Describing a still image taken from the video, Dr. Grant said that ‘Miss McConnell’s hand is flat against the waist of pupil A.’

The students present in the nightclub said that the teacher was dancing in a ‘sexy’ and ‘dirty’ manner.

Miss McDonnell is alleged to have danced sexually with a sixth-year student at a local Scinandi's nightclub in March 2018.

Miss McDonnell is alleged to have danced sexually with a sixth-year student at a local Scinandi’s nightclub in March 2018.

The Thurso High School student, who has been accused Miss McConnell of mistreating the school’s owners, kissed the mother of two ‘three or four times’.

Miss McConnell is also alleged to have called two students at the club ‘f**k off’ before pointing two fingers.

Then she also reportedly said that she would fight a ‘b***h’ in reference to one of the female students.

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

‘I know my professional limits with students and we should not socialize with students on a personal level.

‘Ashley was drinking Jack Daniels and Coke while ordering Budweiser and she did it maybe two or three times.

‘I can’t believe she was in complete control of her actions, she was over the tips and I can’t remember if she made any progress.

‘If she were sober it would never have happened because when people are drunk they do things they normally wouldn’t.

‘Ashley looked like she wanted to party, I was the one who had to push her away.

,[She] Drunk, more aggressive and sensitive to comments when he gave the girl the finger.

‘I had not seen her acting flirtatiously before and it all made me feel like she was not in control.’

Hearing continues.