Wensleydale School teacher banned for calling girls ‘slags’, touching them, smelling them and taking them to the cinema without permission

The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form. Photo: Google

A teacher has been banned from teaching after a hearing heard he called girls ‘slags’, ‘sluts’ and ‘leeches’, likened a pupil’s work to soft porn, smelled girls and took a group of pupils to the cinema without telling the school.

English teacher Rob Myers, 57, worked at The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form in Leyburn from July 2015 to March last year.

The Professional Standards Panel heard that a number of pupils made complaints about his conduct.

Pupils complained that he used inappropriate language and had inappropriate physical contact.

The school launched an investigation and further complaints were made about an alleged failure to maintain professional boundaries in the classroom and allegedly taking pupils on a trip without the knowledge of the school.

The teacher denied much of the conduct but the hearing found that he had committed the unacceptable behaviour after hearing detailed evidence from the pupils.

The allegations included:

1. Using inappropriate language in the presence of one or more pupils including:

– Made a reference to ‘ten naked virgins’ on his drive

– Told one or more pupils that they should ‘show the chief examiner your cleavage’

– Said to pupils ‘don’t come to the next lesson with low cut tops on as you’re teasing me’

– Said ‘this is like soft porn, are you trying to get me off? It’s really good’ when commenting on one pupil’s work

– In the school bistro he said to a pupil ‘get down you slag’ or words to that effect when she put her foot on the table

– Said to another pupil ‘do you want me to call her a slut then’ when a pupil said that he should not have called her a slag

2. Referring to pupils as:

– needy girls
– leeches
– naughty girls
– beautiful girls

3. In relation to one particular pupil he:

– leant over her

– smelled her

– said to her ‘you smell nice’

4. Had inappropriate physical contact with pupils including:

– Touching a pupil on her arm and trying to put her arm behind her back

– Putting his hand over a pupil’s hand when she was using the computer mouse

– Slapping a pupil on the arm whilst in the bistro.

5. Failed to maintain professional boundaries with one or more pupils by:

– Allowing pupils to call him ‘Rob’ and/or ‘baldy’ during lessons

– Discussing topics of a personal nature with or in the presence of pupils including discussing his personal relationships;

– Engaging in inappropriate email conversations

6. In or around October 2015 he met one or more pupils outside of school to attend a showing of Macbeth at Richmond Station cinema without the knowledge or approval of the school.

Mr Myers denied making the comment about low cut tops to one pupil, but the panel believed the pupil whose story was corroborated by other students.

The girl said that it made her ‘feel weird and awkward’ when interviewed by the school.

Myers denied that he had made any sexualised comments and denied telling the pupils that they had ‘dirty minds’ when challenged about the comments.

Pupils said the teacher would  take an interest in the students’ relationships and told one girl that she needed a ‘fella to sort her out’.

The panel heard that one pupil, while in the company of other pupils, emailed Mr Myers in the early hours of 16 January 2016.

In this email, the pupil referred to Mr Myers as a ‘bald xxxx’.

Mr Myers responded to this and signed off his email with an ‘x’.

The panel concluded that Mr Myers used sexualised language to pupils and also made references to pupils which either demeaned them or had the effect of sexually objectifying them.

It added: “These comments had a direct impact on pupils, who reported that this behaviour made them feel uncomfortable and disgusted.”

One girl said she became de-motivated to the extent that she considered abandoning her studies and said that that the conduct had a negative impact on her academic performance.

The teacher did not attend the hearing.

Alan Meyrick, decision maker for the Secretary of State, said: “Having taken all of these matters into account and having read with care the recommendations of the panel I also have found that the widespread, repeated and persistent nature of the unacceptable professional conduct supports the view that Mr Myers should be made the subject of a prohibition order.”

He ruled that Rob Myers is prohibited from teaching indefinitely and cannot teach in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England.

He may apply for the prohibition order to be set aside, but not until 24 February 2021.

North Yorkshire County Council said the school referred the case to the Disclosure and Barring Service and the National College for Teaching and Leadership as soon as the facts were established.

Wensleydale School headteacher Julia Polley said the school acted to investigate the allegations as soon as the teacher’s conduct was called into question.

She said the school supported the decision to prohibit Mr Myers from teaching.