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Science teacher banned from teaching after sending inappropriate messages to pupil

Science teacher banned from practice with no review period after panel heard how he exchanged inappropriate messages with 15-year-old pupil

Published on 28th February 2018

A science teacher has been banned from teaching after exchanging inappropriate messages with a 15-year-old pupil.

Mr Andrew Chambi (also known as Mr Andreas Chambi), admitted that he communicated with Child A when she was 15-years-old via social media including WhatsApp, lied about his age, suggested meeting up, discussed snuggling in bed, asked her what she wore in bed and exchanged photographs with her. However, he denied his actions were sexually motivated.

Mr Chambi had been employed at Kingsford Community School between 2009 and 2016 as a science teacher, apart from a short period in 2012 when he was employed by a university on a part-time basis.

In December 2015, Mr Chambi is alleged to have met Child A on Whisper, a social networking platform and engaged in inappropriate messages with Child A.

In his statement dated 19 January 2018, Mr Chambi confirmed that he communicated with Child A on Whisper in December 2014 and WhatsApp in January 2015. Screen shots confirmed this to be true.

In the message, Mr Chambi said he was 24 when in fact he was 31. The panel accepted that Mr Chambi did not know Child A’s age when they ha this discussion. The WhatsApp messages confirmed that Mr Chambi had suggested meeting up to “hang out” with Child A.

The NCTL panel also saw a WhatsApp message in which Mr Chambi said to Child A, “I wanna snuggle up and be warm with someone!!” Child A responded “We can snuggle haha.” Mr Chambi went on to reply “That’d be good.” Mr Chambi asked Child A what she wore in bed and told her that he wore pants or nothing in bed. Mr Chambi asked them to exchange photographs which they did, although the panel noted that the pictures were not indecent. Mr Chambi did ask Child A to send him a picture in her nightwear although she did not provide this. He asked again the following day. The panel was satisfied that this initial exchange of photographs took place before Mr Chambi was aware of Child A’s age.

Mr Chambi denied sexual motivation in his written evidence. The panel went on to consider the WhatsApp messages exchanged by Child A and Mr Chambi after he became aware that Child A was 15 years old. The panel found a number of his messages to Child A were sexually suggestive including asking Child A how she could keep him warm if she was with him and requesting to see Child A in her t-shirt and underwear.

There were also a number of suggestions from Mr Chambi that he and Child A should ‘snuggle’ with each other. Mr Chambi went further in saying, “Maybe some bed time exercises to warm up a little. ;) xxx”.

The panel was particularly concerned that Mr Chambi appeared to be using his role as a teacher to develop a relationship with Child A. Child A used revision as a reason not to meet with Mr Chambi yet he responded by offering to help Child A with her revision, commenting that he was a teacher and, “I could get you a good grade actually! ;)”

The panel considered that there was no credible, alternative explanation for the messages sent by Mr Chambi to Child A other than sexual motivation.

The panel made a recommendation that Mr Chambi should be prohibited from teaching with a review period after five years.

However, decision maker on behalf of the Secretary of State Alan Meyrick said there are three factors that suggest that a five year review period is not sufficient to achieve the aim of maintaining public confidence in the profession:

  • the fact that even once he knew that Child A was 15, Mr Chambi still sought a photograph of Child A, “in her t-shirt and underwear”;
  • that even after he knew that Child A was 15 he continued to say, “Maybe some bed time exercises to warm up a little. ;) xxx.”
  • that he did not show sufficient insight.

“For these reasons therefore I consider therefore that a prohibition order in this case should not allow for a review period. In my view that is necessary to satisfy the maintenance of public confidence in the profession,” he concluded.

 

 

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