Byline: Andrew Picken Scottish Political Reporter
DOZENS of teachers have been thrown out of Scottish schools for sexual misconduct with pupils and colleagues, shocking figures show.
One teacher is being sacked nearly every month of the school year for inappropriate sexual behaviour, sparking fresh fears about a blurring of the lines between teachers and their pupils.
A total of 37 teachers has been disciplined for sexual misconduct over the past five years, according to figures released yesterday by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).
Misconduct towards pupils accounted for 14 of these offences, while the remainder were for inappropriate behaviour with adults, thought to be mainly other teachers.
Among the offences which have seen teachers struck off the teaching register were sex with pupils and sexual assaults on youngsters. The Sexual Offences Act 2003 makes it illegal for anyone over the age of 18 who is in a position of trust over someone under 18 to involve the younger person in sexual activity.
This means teachers cannot engage in sexual activity with pupils in their own school, even if the pupil is above the age of consent.
If convicted, teachers are placed on the Sex Offenders Register and can face up to five years in jail.
But while most schools maintain strict rules on teacher-pupil contact, such as not sharing mobile or home phone numbers, there has been a number of high-profile teacher sex scandal cases north of the Border in recent months.
Last month a disgraced housemaster, who had sex with a 16-year-old pupil and behaved indecently towards another girl, narrowly avoided jail.
Ryan Deneven-Lewis, 27, was supposed to care for the children in his role as a deputy house parent at St Mary's Music School in Edinburgh.
Instead, he engaged in unprotected sex with the 16-year-old girl in her dorm at the boarding school and took advantage of another girl, aged 15.
The GTCS last night said the number of teachers disciplined for sexual offences represented a fraction of its 80,000 registered teaching professionals across the country.
But Tory education spokesman Liz Smith said: 'Just one case of a teacher being disciplined for sexual misconduct is too much. …