Female teacher’s ‘sexual interest’ in girl student
A FEMALE teacher in her early 20s developed an inappropriate relationship with a vulnerable female student over two years, from when the girl was 15, a tribunal has found.
The teacher, who was found to have lived with the girl in a sexual relationship from soon after the girl finished Year 12, has been barred from reapplying for registration until 2022.
The Queensland teacher taught the "needy'' girl, who was under the care of Child Safety, in her final three years of high school and was also her pastoral care teacher.
The teacher, now 27, broke off her engagement with her long-term male partner in 2016, when the student was in Year 12, Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal heard.
While the teacher denied having had a sexual relationship with the teenage ex-student, the tribunal found she had a sexual interest in the girl when she was still in Years 11 and 12.
She flirted with the girl and there was an intimacy between them that was different to the usual teacher and student relationship, it was found.
They had a plan to live together from at least mid-2016, when the girl told her child safety officer she would be moving in with the teacher's parents after she graduated.
"The teacher favoured a student in whom she had a sexual interest,'' the tribunal said in its disciplinary decision.
She crossed boundaries, despite warnings from other school staff, discussing personal matters with the girl and exchanging gifts, the tribunal said.
The student had a troubled background, and instead of protecting her the pastoral care teacher exploited her neediness so she could form an intimate relationship with her, the tribunal found.
The student, who was a friend of the teacher's younger sister, had lived with a foster parent while at school and was under a long-term guardianship order.
In the first half of 2015, when the girl was in Year 11, the teacher told a colleague she was thinking of leaving her fiance because she had feelings for another person.
At Year 11 camp, the teacher was refused permission to have the student sleep in her cabin.
The Assistant Principal became concerned about the teacher and student spending time alone together.
Soon after the girl's graduation in late 2016, when she was almost 17, the student and teacher moved into the teacher's parents' home.
In February, 2017, the teacher introduced the ex-student as her partner and in March that year she told teacher friends she now identified as lesbian and the girl was her partner.
Despite the teacher's denials, the tribunal found compelling evidence there was a romantic relationship that developed into a sexual relationship once the pair lived together.
On July 16, the tribunal prohibited the teacher, whose registration has expired, from reapplying for registration or permission to teach before May 17, 2022.
If she reapplies she must submit a psychologist's report on whether she understands personal and professional relationships and boundaries and other matters.
The teacher was ordered to pay Queensland College of Teachers's $2500 costs.