A female teacher took a pupil back to her hotel room and spent the night with him – following his school PROM.
Rebecca Lacey, 28, was “overfamiliar” with the year 11 student over the course of the night before inviting him back to her room.
The following morning she even dropped him off near his home so he could walk back, a professional conduct panel heard.
Lacey, who was an ICT teacher at Downend School in Bristol for five years, admitted behaving inappropriately at the prom on June 26 2014.
She allowed the “vulnerable” teenager – known as ‘Pupil A’ as he cannot be identified for legal reasons – and other students to hug her goodbye.
Other teachers saw her spending time alone with a single pupil on more than one occasion – including Pupil A, who was a member of her class.
She also danced with the 15 and 16-year-olds, and there are photos showing pupils with their hands around her waist, the panel was told.
Lacey, whose social network states she likes ‘guys with tattoos and piercings’, because ‘something bout [sic] them that turns me on’, admitted invited Pupil A to her hotel room as she was concerned for his “safety and wellbeing”.
She claimed they spent the night talking about “family problems” but was “anxious” about others finding out.
A report said: “She was aware that he was a vulnerable student and he appeared to be in a bad state of mind on the evening of the prom.
“He was being inﬂuenced by other pupils to drink alcohol and take drugs after the prom event.
“Her motivation was to keep him safe from harm, and she was worried that if he left the prom event with the pupils who were inﬂuencing him that something terrible may have happened to him.”
It is not alleged there was any sexual activity between her and Pupil A.
But Lacey failed to report the incident the next day and denied it happened three times when questioned by the headteacher Will Roberts.
Lacey was suspended after the allegations surfaced and resigned after the school’s investigations.
She was hauled before a panel, which included chairman Martin Pilkington, teacher Phil Lloyd and councillor Gail Goodman, on Thursday last week.
It concluded that the episode constituted “unacceptable professional conduct and conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute”.
It added that even in accepting Lacey’s motivation for allowing Pupil A to stay in her hotel room, she made a “gross error of judgement”.
“That failing is aggravated by her failure to volunteer the following day what had occurred and her initial denials when questioned,” their report said.
“She clearly failed to observe the professional boundaries that should, at all times, govern the relationship between a teacher and pupil.”
It added these boundaries must govern teacher-pupil relationships even more starkly when the pupil is vulnerable.
“The panel considers that what Miss Lacey did constitutes a gross breach of trust towards pupil A,” it said.
“And her failure to disclose what had happened together with her subsequent denials suggests that she was well aware of the seriousness of her conduct.”
The panel, from the National College for Training and Leadership, also found Lacey misguided pupils she was teaching, including Pupil A, when it came to their GCSE ICT exam.
As a result, 50 students had their coursework disqualified by exam board OCR – meaning none received the qualification they had been studying for.
Lacey said she had acted “innocently” with regards to the breached exam regulation.
However, she admitted it was a case of “unacceptable professional conduct” which might bring the profession into disrepute.
The ambitious teacher said her career was “the most important thing” in her life and that she wanted to continue working in teaching.
No further action will be taken until the panel’s notice comes before Education Secretary Nicky Morgan.
Headteacher Mr Roberts said his former employee’s conduct was “entirely unacceptable”.
He said the school took “prompt and robust action” to deal with the allegations, adding that student safety is of “paramount importance”.
“Teachers hold a position of trust, and must observe proper professional boundaries in their work with students,” he added.
“We will continue to do everything we can to provide a safe environment for students at the school.”
Students taught by Lacey have slated her on ratemyteachers.com, an online forum which allows users to post feedback on teachers.
One wrote: “Her help is to not help you deal with ICT but more or less just do it for you… Literally.
“She seems to care more about gossip than teaching a lesson. She isn’t very nice either, you’d be lucky to get on her good side.”
The author of the post added that students in her class should “expect a good grade”.
On Lacey’s social travel website Where are you now? (WAYN), she said she is ‘turned on’ by men with tattoos and piercings.
She wrote: ”I like rock music and guys with tattoos and piercings, don’t ask me why, its [sic] just something bout [sic] them that turns me on.
”I like going out with my mates into town, clubbing or just go for a drink.”
Downend School was rated Good by Ofsted in September 2014. The co-ed school, which includes a sixth form, is an academy.
Business Secretary and MP Sajid Javid was educated at the school.
Leave a Reply