Following reports received regarding an inappropriate relationship between a 16-year-old student and a teacher at Westside school in 2019 HM Government of Gibraltar commissioned an investigation by an independent board in June 2020, chaired by Gillian Guzman QC.
An exhaustive investigation by the Board has lasted over 12 months and involved the interviewing of numerous witnesses. The Board has concluded that during 2019 and 2020 a teacher abused the teacher-student relationship. The teacher‘s approach to the student was purposeful and in giving way to the teacher‘s own inappropriate feelings, the teacher ignored the well-being of a vulnerable student and groomed the student accordingly. The report adds that in doing so the teacher broke safeguarding protocols, codes of conduct, child protection policies and the teacher‘s position of trust. The teacher‘s conduct was regarded as significantly disturbing, wholly unprofessional and brought the teaching profession into disrepute.
HM Government of Gibraltar condemns these actions and is committed to ensuring that schools remain a “safe haven” for students so that parents may send their children without the fear of this happening again. Teacher-student boundaries are there to be respected and maintained and breaking this trust will not be tolerated in Gibraltar.
Therefore, in line with the recommendations of the Board, HM Government of Gibraltar has now prevented the teacher from teaching in its schools. It will also ensure that appropriate safeguarding controls are put in place to ensure this person does not work with children in other capacities.
Following recommendations of the Board, HM Government of Gibraltar are currently reviewing all safeguarding protocols and policies and will also be reviewing existing laws to ensure these are robust and clear with the aim of safeguarding all our students. Failures in the existing procedures and policies at the Department of Education are also being investigated.