Teacher struck off for taking pupil home

Damien Etherington quit his post at Glasgow Academy. Picture: Deadline News

Damien Etherington quit his post at Glasgow Academy. Picture: Deadline News

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A MASTER at one of Scotland’s fee-paying schools has been banned from the classroom after he admitted taking a senior male pupil home for the night.

Damian Etherington, who abruptly left the staff of the £10,000-per-year Glasgow Academy after the allegations came to light, confessed to a string of charges at the General Teaching Council (GTC) hearing in Edinburgh.

However, his denial to claims by the pupil that the pair indulged in a sex act in the teacher’s bed was accepted.

He was deemed unfit to teach for “putting himself in a highly dangerous situation” and was struck off for two years following the four-day hearing.

The pupil, who was 18 at the time, told how Etherington had phoned him to suggest they meet up in a pub in May 2012.

Hours later, the history teacher invited the teenager to his home, where more alcohol was taken – and he eventually asked the youth to stay overnight.

The hearing was told the pupil slept in Etherington’s bed; however they accepted his insistence that the pair were never in bed together.

In its findings, the GTC panel said: “It was accepted, on balance, that he (Etherington) had thought it would be better for the pupil to allow him to stay overnight and return home the following morning – rather than for him to attempt to get home so late that evening.”

However, it ruled that the master had “at the very least, shown a significant lack of judgment by not maintaining appropriate boundaries”.

It added: “The public perception would be that his actions had been highly inappropriate and his behaviour fell significantly short of the standard expected of a registered teacher.

“He had put himself in a highly dangerous situation and had failed to take specific advice from colleagues.”

Several other accusations against Etherington were found unproved by the panel.

They included claims that he exchanged texts with sexual dialogue with the pupil and that he had made improper suggestions to him on an aircraft during an school trip abroad.

He was also alleged to have unbuttoned the boy’s shirt in a classroom.

Founded in 1845, Glasgow Academy is the oldest continuously fully independent school in Glasgow.

It has around 1,350 pupils, split between three preparatory school sites and a senior school.

A number of famous people have attended the school, including Peter Pan author JM Barrie, Sir Jeremy Isaacs, founder of Channel 4, John Reith, 1st Baron Reith, founder of the BBC, and Scotland’s first first minister, Donald Dewar.

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