Leeds teacher’s ban for moving in with ex-pupil

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A TEACHER who kissed a sixth-form pupil at a school leaving party and then moved in with her when she left school has been spared a permanent teaching ban.

Lee Butcher, a teacher at Garfoth Community College in Leeds, also had “sexually explicit” exchanges with another 16-year old former pupil on Facebook.

But the General Teaching Council’s Professional Conduct Committee decided to suspend him for 12 months rather than impose a permanent teaching ban.

A parent reported to the school in September 2009 that her daughter had shown her extracts of a Facebook exchange between Mr Butcher and a former pupil.

Committee chair Tony Cuthbert told yesterday’s hearing: “This included a discussion about Pupil A posing for pictures in front of a webcam whilst dressed in underwear and a nurse’s uniform.”

He added: “Mr Butcher also admitted to kissing Pupil B, whilst she was a Year 13 pupil, at the sixth form leaving party.

“On leaving the sixth form, Pupil B moved in with Mr Butcher.”

Mr Butcher informed a child protection officer of the kiss and alerted the school to his living arrangements with Pupil B.

Criminal proceedings were not brought in relation to either incident, but Mr Butcher was dismissed by the school in December 2009 for gross misconduct.

Mr Cuthbert added: “The committee finds that Mr Butcher’s conduct amounts to unacceptable professional conduct.

“Mr Butcher disregarded well- established and well-known child protection principles and failed to maintain appropriate boundaries with two young persons. In so doing, he undermined the trust that the public is entitled to place in the teaching profession and compromised his own integrity.”

The committee had regard to Mr Butcher’s previous good character, the references in his support and the remorse he had expressed.

Stopping short of imposing a permanent ban, Mr Cuthbert said: “The Committee is satisfied that his conduct, whilst extremely serious, is not so serious as to be fundamentally incompatible with being a teacher.”

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