Teacher keeps job after grades-for-photos allegations
A TEACHER accused of trading A grades for explicit photos of a teenage schoolgirl has won a legal battle to stay working.
In a school scandal exposing the perils of social media, the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) deregistered the male teacher in 2018 for posing an "unacceptable risk of harm to children''.
Now the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) has reinstated the teacher, after questioning the girl's "uncorroborated'' evidence that he sent her creepy messages and nude photos.
The girl was 16 when her Year 12 teacher allegedly gave her an A for swimming, in exchange for her sending him revealing photos of herself in 2017.
The QCT alleged the teacher used Snapchat to send the girl photos of his penis, and a photo of a tablet on his tongue which she believed to be the drug ecstasy.
The girl told the QCT she believed she had taken a screenshot of one photo her teacher sent her, "and like he got really mad at me and said like delete it''.
She claimed the teacher "nagged her'' to send photos and told her, 'You know I'll up your grade, you know you don't have to do anything … you'd rather have a B than a C.''
A panel of three QCAT members decided to let the man return to teaching in May last year, but only published their decision on Wednesday.
They found the teacher had "wrongly engaged in social media contact'' with students of the school, by "encouraging'' them to follow his online business on Instagram.
The business used software to automatically "like'' images on Instagram and send comments, including emojis.
The QCAT adjudicators said they were "concerned'' by the only recorded Instagram exchange between the girl and the business, which had responded to one of her selfie photos with a "wow" emoji.
The girl replied, "Why did you delete me off snap'' and the business responded, "deleted it … can't talk on here … see u tomorrow talk then … swimming.''
QCAT found that the teacher "consistently said the allegations are completely untrue'', and an analysis of the girl's phone "did not provide any corroborating evidence''.
The girl initially refused to download her Snapchat data, but agreed to co-operate immediately before the hearing, when it was too late to provide an analysis.
"In those circumstances we do not accept the uncorroborated evidence (of the girl) and find that the allegations … are not substantiated,'' QCAT states in its ruling.
QCAT ordered that the teacher give the QCT a psychologist's report showing he is "aware of what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate behaviour with children and students'' and the "concept of professional boundaries''.
QCAT has suppressed the identity of the man, his school and his student.
Originally published as Teacher keeps job after grades-for-photos allegations