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Former Northfleet teacher banned after having sex with 16-year-old pupil

A former teacher has been banned from the profession after being convicted of having sex with a 16-year-old boy.

Shannon Parsons taught in Northfleet from September 2016 and October 2018, and was subsequently sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court in March 2021, over a relationship with a pupil.

Shannon Parsons has been banned from teaching. Picture: Jim Bennett
Shannon Parsons has been banned from teaching. Picture: Jim Bennett

A professional conduct panel of the Teaching Regulation Agency then met in December 2022 and the Department for Education has subsequently announced the decision to prohibit her indefinitely from teaching.

A report on the panel’s findings noted the 35-year-old’s court conviction led to her being sentenced for 12-months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, and she was made subject to a sexual harm prevention order for five years.

The panel also heard additional evidence of her conduct, including her admission of text messages sent to the child, referred to as Pupil A, in which she stated: “Aw I love you!”; “Want a lift? X”; and “I know we talked about meeting up this week but I think [blank] would probably tell her dad. I do wanna see you soon though x x x”.

Its report said there "was no evidence to suggest Ms Parsons was acting under extreme duress”, and, in fact, the panel found Ms Parsons’ actions to be “calculated and motivated”.

It added: "Ms Parsons submitted she forged a friendship with Pupil A, and his parents.

Maidstone Crown Court
Maidstone Crown Court

"Ms Parsons offered Pupil A support; Pupil A stated that both Pupil A and his mother became reliant on her. Ms Parsons stated the language used between her and Pupil A mirrored the language and familiarity that she used with Pupil A’s mother.

“Ms Parsons accepted this language is not appropriate and far exceeds the boundaries of her role.

“Ms Parsons also explained that, having never witnessed a healthy relationship, someone coping well emotionally, or having a stable parent to guide her, she was not able to cope with the position of trust awarded to her."

The panel also considered a letter from Ms Parsons in which she stated: “I was clear in my mind at the time, that our relationship was platonic.”

“…by imprinting my own negative experiences into my teaching, I have inadvertently and subconsciously made things worse, for myself and my students.

‘I really struggled to see the difference between right and wrong at this point’

“This was dangerous and I recognise that now. My responsibilities as a teacher were blurred – I wanted to help and do the right thing for the students, but by not holding myself to account as an adult, the relationships forged were not appropriate. I really struggled to see the difference between right and wrong at this point.”

Nevertheless the report said the panel was not satisfied Ms Parsons had shown true insight of the impact this had on the pupils involved, and instead had focused mainly on the impact that this had on her own life.

It added: "Further, the panel found Ms Parsons had not fully comprehended the inappropriateness of her actions as evidenced by her comment that the 'relationship [with Pupil A] was platonic' and that they 'were friends'."

The panel decided the findings indicated a review period would not be appropriate and, as such, decided a prohibition order should be recommended without provisions for a review period.

The decision from Alan Meyric, chief executive of the Teaching Regulation Agency, made on behalf of the Secretary of State, echoed the findings.

He ordered that Ms Parsons be prohibited from teaching indefinitely and "cannot teach in any school, sixth-form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England”.

The decision added: "Furthermore, in view of the seriousness of the allegations found proved against her, I have decided Shannon Parsons shall not be entitled to apply for restoration of her eligibility to teach.

“This order takes effect from the date on which it is served on the teacher.

“Shannon Parsons has a right of appeal to the King’s Bench Division of the High Court within 28 days from the date she is given notice of this order."

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