High school teacher struck off for inappropriate behaviour with students

A large, empty classroom.
Photo credit: File

A teacher has been struck off for inappropriate behaviour with a student and breaching professional boundaries with another in 2016.

In a decision released this week, the NZ Teachers Disciplinary panel found him guilty of serious misconduct in his relationships with two 16-year-old girls, referred to as Student A and Student B.

The 23-year-old teacher added Student A as a friend on several social media sites, including Snapchat and Instagram.

While they initially discussed schoolwork, the conversations progressed to "friend based", and at one point, the teacher said "I love you" to the young student and they discussed their respective sex lives.

The teacher visited her at her father's home without his knowledge and lied about adding her on Instagram when confronted by her mother.

He breached professional boundaries by giving Student A and Student B rides to and from town, while their parents were unaware they had gone out that night.

"It should be remembered that a teacher's treatment of a student as a friend can have a detrimental effect on a student, sometimes more than a sexual relationship," the tribunal said in its decision.

"When the teacher's feelings are manifested, whether by conversations of a personal nature, flirtatious behaviour, special treatment or intimate contact, then the teacher has exploited his or her position and the teacher/student relationship has been violated."

The teacher's registration has been cancelled.

The tribunal reports that despite the events, the two students successfully achieved NCEA level one qualifications.