Male primary school teacher struck off for 'inappropriate' comments to former pupil on Facebook
A 28-year-old male teacher has been banned from the profession after he left a 13-year-old former pupil feeling 'weird and uncomfortable' after contacting her on Facebook.
Alan Watkeys had first met the girl when she was just 11 and he was a newly-qualified teacher at Featherstone Primary School, in Erdington, Birmingham. Yes, that's Primary School.
When the young girl moved on to senior school, Watkeys continued to keep in touch with her via Facebook where he told her he 'liked her' and that she was 'pretty'.
The girl eventually reported him to the police, and the case was passed to the Teaching Agency, leading to Watkeys facing a disciplinary hearing.
The hearing ruled that as he had 'engaged in inappropriate communications with an ex-pupil', Watkeys was guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and recommended that he was banned from teaching.
The tribunal heard how the pupil first met Watkeys when she joined a lunchtime drama club he was involved in at at Featherstone school when she was 11. When she left the school in 2009, Watkeys began contacting her, calling her 'bab' and telling her he wanted to 'hug her' and 'sing lullabies' to her.
The panel said the case had a serious affect on Pupil A and on her wellbeing.
"This was a serious departure from the personal and professional conduct elements of the teacher's standards," said panel chair Kevin Nolan.
Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, said he endorsed the panel's decision.
"The panel found that Mr Watkeys' behaviour was incompatible with being a teacher," Mr Gove said, "His actions were a serious departure from the personal and professional conduct elements of the teacher's standards and the misconduct seriously affected the wellbeing of pupil A. Mr Watkeys, by his own admission, abused his position of trust in relation to the pupil."
"The panel have recommended a prohibition order is appropriate sanction and I endorse this decision."
Alan Watkeys is now working as an estate agent.
What do you think about this? Should there be a blanket ban on teachers being Facebook 'friends' with their pupils or school-age former-pupils?
More on Parentdish: Should children and teachers be Facebook friends?