Teacher banned over messages to 14-year-old girl
A teacher has been banned from the classroom after sending hundreds of messages over social media to a schoolgirl, including one of himself lying bare-chested on a bed.
Jamie Hughes, aged 25, was suspended from Phoenix Collegiate school in West Bromwich when the mother of the girl called police after finding the content on her mobile phone.
The 14-year-old was not a pupil at Mr Hughes’ school.
At a professional conduct panel hearing held by the National College for Teaching and Leadership, Mr Hughes was ruled to have acted flirtatiously, but not by sexual motive.
He was banned from teaching indefinitely.
Panel chairman Alan Meyrick said: “He (Mr Hughes) had clearly lost sight of his professional status and allowed boundaries to become seriously blurred.
However, the panel was not satisfied that Mr Hughes’ conduct in relation to the facts found proved in allegation 1 (acting flirtatiously) was for the purpose of sexual gratification.”
He added: “Whilst Mr Hughes had sent a picture of himself to Child A which was extremely concerning, the panel was prepared to accept his explanation that there was no sexual intent behind his actions.”
Mr Hughes started messaging the girl when she was aged 12, but this stopped when the mother found the messages.
However, in April 2016, she again found messages on the child’s phone from Mr Hughes, who was named as ‘Harry Potter’ on the device.
The hundreds of messages included one with 17 kisses and another where he described the child as ‘miss amazingest person in the whole planet’.
There were also phone calls, one lasting over an hour, and a photograph sent by Mr Hughes of him lying on a bed barechested.
Mr Hughes accepted that messaging the child was ‘inappropriate and professionally unacceptable’, but denied he had any intent to act flirtatiously when questioned by the panel.
In mitigation, the panel considered Mr Hughes had a good record prior to the incident and had admitted to the facts at an early stage.
Mr Hughes is banned from teaching indefinitely at any school, six form or children’s home.
In five years he can apply for a review of the order. He joined Phoenix Collegiate in September in 2015, initially on a two-day contract.
In April 2016 he was suspended following the launch of a police investigation.
After police decided to take no action, the school held a disciplinary investigation meeting with Mr Hughes in the September of the same year. Two months later he resigned.
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