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Govt bans teacher over ‘inappropriate’ relationship with student

A teacher has been banned from teaching in Gibraltar’s schools after an investigation into claims of an “inappropriate relationship” with a 16-year-old found evidence of “disturbing, wholly unprofessional” behaviour.

The investigation by an independent board led by Gillian Guzman, QC, was launched after the Government received reports in 2019 of the relationship between the teacher and a student at Westside school.

The matter was initially referred to the Royal Gibraltar Police but there was no evidence of criminal conduct.

Police later reviewed the board's findings but reached the same conclusion.

"Following a referral to the RGP, a police investigation of this matter concluded that there were no grounds for a criminal prosecution,” the RGP said.

“After Gillian Guzman's independent investigation, the RGP reviewed the case but again came to the conclusion that there were no grounds for a criminal prosecution."

The board's “exhaustive” investigation lasted over a year and included interviewing multiple witnesses.

“The Board has concluded that during 2019 and 2020 a teacher abused the teacher-student relationship,” No.6 Convent Place said in a statement.

“The teacher’s approach to the student was purposeful and in giving way to the teacher’s own inappropriate feelings, the teacher ignored the well-being of a vulnerable student and groomed the student accordingly.”

“The report adds that in doing so the teacher broke safeguarding protocols, codes of conduct, child protection policies and the teacher‘s position of trust.”

“The teacher’s conduct was regarded as significantly disturbing, wholly unprofessional and brought the teaching profession into disrepute.”

“HM Government of Gibraltar condemns these actions and is committed to ensuring that schools remain a ‘safe haven’ for students so that parents may send their children without the fear of this happening again.”

“Teacher-student boundaries are there to be respected and maintained and breaking this trust will not be tolerated in Gibraltar.”

“Therefore, in line with the recommendations of the Board, HM Government of Gibraltar has now prevented the teacher from teaching in its schools.”

“It will also ensure that appropriate safeguarding controls are put in place to ensure this person does not work with children in other capacities.”

Acting on the recommendations of the Board, the Government of Gibraltar said it was currently reviewing all safeguarding protocols and policies.

It will also be reviewing existing laws to ensure these are “robust and clear” with the aim of safeguarding all students.

“Failures in the existing procedures and policies at the Department of Education are also being investigated,” No.6 Convent Place added.

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