Aberdeen teacher accused of making lewd and racist comments to pupils
A Scottish teacher is facing accusations he looked up a colleague’s skirt and made racists comments including asking one pupil: “are you sure you’re not a terrorist?”
The charges levelled at David McGhee also include making lewd remarks to youngsters.
Mr McGhee, who teaches religious education as well as history and modern studies, was working at two schools in Aberdeen at the time of the alleged offences.
The teacher, who also worked as an Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) marker, tried and failed to have the charges against him discussed in private at a hearing of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) in Edinburgh this week.
He faces charges that between 2011 and 2013, while employed by Aberdeen City Council at Harlaw Academy “you did instigate inappropriate conversations with colleagues which contained sexual references.”
Mr McGhee, in reference to two pupils, is accused of saying: “Every man’s dream, twins, but not at their age, of course”.
He allegedly told a colleague: “Remember I spoke to you about class 4.1 coming into PSE and talking about ‘sixty-niners’.”
Another charge states that he said: “It is possible to get an Egyptian down there along the lines of a Brazilian.” This was in reference to shaving around a bikini line after a pupil made a comment about how another pupil’s haircut made her “look like an Egyptian”.
On August 30, 2013 Mr McGhee, 51, allegedly stared at the legs of a female colleague and looked up her skirt.
He faces another charge that between 2011 and 2013 he made a remark of a racist nature towards a pupil at Harlaw, asking: “Are you sure you are not a terrorist, that’s alright then, at least you are not putting poison on the door handle.”
Other charges relate to the teacher’s subsequent work Kincorth Academy, Aberdeen, and involve alleged professional failings. He is alleged to have lost pupils’ scripts, meaning they lost out on National 4 history qualifications.
Mr McGhee did not appear at the hearing and was not represented but sent a letter in which he denied all the allegations.
The disciplinary hearing was told that Stuart Craig, Deputy Head Teacher at Hazelhead Academy, Aberdeen, was asked to investigate the teacher’s alleged professional failings.
During this investigation, he said he uncovered evidence of numerous improper remarks.
He told the panel: “One was a racist incident, another around sexual remarks to a student, and one of staring at a female colleague. I didn’t investigate these but I did pass them on to the authority.”
Mr Craig said Harlaw Academy wanted the matter treated informally.
He told the hearing: “In my opinion, in their response to this, Harlaw Academy failed in their duty to support pupils and staff. If these allegations were made by pupils or staff I’d expect formal interviews. In a matter of such seriousness a member of staff would probably be suspended.
“It’s concerning that allegations of racist and sexual remarks were not being reviewed with rigour.”
Another witness, Director of Education and Children’s Services Gail Gorman, said Mr McGhee was held in high regard by colleagues as someone who was “highly professional”.
He also acted as a marker for the SQA of which Mrs Gorman said: “As part of that you have to be an experienced teacher, very familiar with the curriculum, application of marking systems and very skilled and up to date with all levels of assessment.”
However, she also stated that he had shown little regret over the issues which arose with his teaching methods.
Asked by the panel what reaction he had given, she said: “Sadly very little. He was showing no remorse around the young people’s lack of qualifications and lack of opportunity.
“We’re all human but normally a teacher would be upset and embarrased and want to do everything they can to make things better. I never saw that with Mr McGhee.”
The hearing was told that Mr McGhee previously came to the attention of the GTCS in 2010.
He was suspended for over seven months and given a written warning for remarks to a pupil about internet porn. He was also alleged to have made other comments, deemed to be inappropriate, to pupils on two other occasions.
He was originally charged by police over the allegations but prosecutors confirmed the case against him had been dropped following an investigation.
The hearing continues.