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British IT teacher gets three-year ban after boozing with students at strip club during school trip to Costa Rica

Watchdog deemed Richard Glenn's conduct 'unacceptable'

An IT teacher at an English private school has been banned from teaching for 36 months for "unacceptable professional conduct" that included getting drunk and visiting a strip club with one or more pupils.

The case of Richard Glenn, employed by Longridge Towers School in Northumberland, was heard by a professional conduct committee of the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) earlier this month. He had been head of his school's sixth-form pupils – that's students aged 16 to 18 for non-Brits – and taught computer science for almost 12 years.

The troubles began when he accompanied pupils from his sixth-form year group on a school trip to Costa Rica from 5 to 11 July 2019, led by an external expedition company. Glenn had been due to remain on the trip until 28 July.

"However, on 11 July 2019, the headteacher of the school received a call from the expedition company informing him that Mr Glenn was being sent back to the UK due to his behaviour on the trip," states the TRA report [PDF], dated this month.

Among the findings of fact: Glenn consumed alcohol with one or more pupils more than once; he made inappropriate comments when under the influence of booze including telling one or more pupils "I'm going to kick your fucking head in," and "I'll fucking kill you," or words to that effect.

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On another occasion, he grabbed a student's head "whilst kissing his forehead and saying 'you're alright,'" after acting aggressively toward that student. Glenn said he was unable to remember that incident "due to his state of intoxication at the time."

"The panel noted that Mr Glenn could not recall the events in question, or making the statements alleged, due to his state of intoxication at the time, but that he did not dispute the recollection of those present," the report says.

Glenn admitted taking one or more pupils to a strip bar, but TRA said there was also photographic evidence of drink tickets obtained at the club, along with a written statement by the trip leader.

"The panel noted that it was agreed between the parties that there was no malice or sexual intent on the part of Mr Glenn in taking the students to the venue in question, but Mr Glenn admits that it was inappropriate and unprofessional for him to fail to control the situation by allowing students to attend the venue."

There was no malice or sexual intent on the part of Mr Glenn in taking the students to the venue in question, but Mr Glenn admits that it was inappropriate and unprofessional

The list of shame continued in the report, including Glenn confirming some students that consumed the alcohol were under age – the legal drinking age in Costa Rica is 18. He was also found to have been aggressive toward the trip leader when she told him to return to his tent, and on another occasion exposed his naked body to the female leader in a shared room.

However, even though Glenn admitted this last point, "the panel noted that Mr Glenn stated he often sleeps naked when at home, and accepted the explanation that there was no malice or sexual intent involved."

The TRA panel concluded the tech teacher had breached his duty of care to pupils, even though the incident took place outside of a school setting. The panel said it was "satisfied that the conduct of Mr Glenn amounted to misconduct of a serous nature which fell significantly short of the standards expected of the profession."

Glenn had a clean track record and had cooperated with the TRA. A number of character references were forthcoming from colleagues, ex-colleagues and former pupils, and he had attended previous trips with no incidents.

As such, the TRA committee decided to ban him from teaching for three years, after which he will need to apply for the ban to be lifted.

"Without a successful application, Mr Richard Glenn remains prohibited from teaching indefinitely," the TRA concluded. ®

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