Probe as teacher al­lows stu­dent to drink

■ Gar­daí pick up dis­tressed pupil on busy road to air­port at 1am

Irish Examiner - - News - Louise Ro­se­in­grave

Gar­daí picked up a stu­dent in a dis­tressed state on a pub­lic road who was try­ing to make his way to Dublin Air­port around 1am, a teach­ing in­quiry heard.

The stu­dent, from Europe, who was over 18, had be­come up­set while drink­ing wine at a teacher’s res­i­dence at his board­ing school. He re­turned to his home coun­try on a flight hours later.

The teacher was em­ployed by the school in an ad­di­tional su­per­vi­sory role and lived in per­ma­nent accommodation ad­ja­cent to the stu­dent’s dorm. He is fac­ing six al­le­ga­tions of pro­fes­sional mis­con­duct at a fit­ness-to-teach in­quiry be­fore a dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tee of the Teach­ing Coun­cil.

The al­le­ga­tions in­clude al­low­ing the stu­dent to drink wine in his apart­ment and leav­ing the stu­dent alone know­ing the stu­dent was up­set and that al­co­hol was avail­able. It is also al­leged that the teacher him­self was in an un­fit state to carry out his du­ties as he was un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol. How­ever, the in­quiry heard he was off duty on the night in ques­tion.

The in­quiry heard that gar­daí picked up the stu­dent on a busy road try­ing to stop traf­fic shortly be­fore 1am on Novem­ber 29, 2016.

“There was a smell of al­co­hol on him, but I wouldn’t have classed him as be­ing drunk,” the garda said.

Gar­daí brought the stu­dent back to the school where they met the teacher. Asked how the stu­dent re­acted when the teacher tried to speak to him, the garda said: “He phys­i­cally froze and took on a look of ab­so­lute sheer fear.”

The in­quiry heard de­tails of a writ­ten state­ment from the teacher who said he’d had trou­ble mo­ti­vat­ing the stu­dent who seemed to have lost in­ter­est in his stud­ies.

The teacher said that the stu­dent was un­der pres­sure from his par­ents to achieve high re­sults.

He said the stu­dent came to his pri­vate accommodation on the even­ing of Novem­ber 28, 2016. The teacher said it was his night off and he had been drink­ing wine in his apart­ment. He said they dis­cussed his stud­ies but an is­sue arose when he asked the stu­dent if he had been tak­ing Ri­talin that was not pre­scribed to him. The stu­dent be­came dis­tressed and ripped his own t-shirt. The teacher said he left the apart­ment and when he re­turned the stu­dent had gone.

Af­ter gar­daí picked up the stu­dent, he was brought to the prin­ci­pal and later to a garda sta­tion. He re­turned to his home coun­try on a flight later that day.

The teacher was sum­moned to a meet­ing with the prin­ci­pal at 7.30am on Novem­ber 29 and sus­pended on full pay. He was ad­vised not to make con­tact with the stu­dent. How­ever, de­tails of What­sapp mes­sages re­vealed he had con­tacted the stu­dent a num­ber of times the pre­vi­ous night and through­out the day. One mes­sage the teacher sent the stu­dent read: “It was re­ally nice tonight be­fore I fucked up.”

The teacher asked the stu­dent via What­sapp what he had told gar­daí and the stu­dent re­sponded that he said they had got drunk and had a fight. The What­sapp con­ver­sa­tion was in­ter­cepted by the stu­dent’s fa­ther the fol­low­ing day around 4pm and ended with the fol­low­ing mes­sage: “This is [stu­dent’s] fa­ther. No more What­sapp.”

In his writ­ten ex­pla­na­tion to the school, the teacher said he had sent the mes­sages in an at­tempt to apol­o­gise to the stu­dent for what hap­pened.

The teacher wrote: “I wanted to take the blame for him get­ting drunk to give him a way out of the ter­ri­ble sit­u­a­tion he had put me in.”

The in­quiry con­tin­ues.

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