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Teacher struck off for messaging student and threatening to kill himself if he didn’t reply

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A former County Armagh school teacher who sent inappropriate messages to students and threatened to kill himself if they did not reply has been struck off and told he will never teach again.

Paul Casey, who taught as a substitute teacher at the Co. Armagh school before moving to London, was found guilty of “unacceptable professional conduct” and falling “significantly short of the standards expected of the profession” at a professional standards panel meeting in October – the results of which were published recently.

The allegations made against the 28-year-old Religious Education teacher related to two students – Pupil A and Pupil B – the latter of whom he met while working at the school

The misconduct hearing found that Casey had inappropriate relationships with pupils, including lending money, threats, expressing love, actions found to be dishonest and with one pupil – Pupil B – led to a police caution.

The allegations against Pupil A, which occurred while he was working at Holy Cross Catholic School in New Malden, included sending multiple messages via Instagram between July 27 and August 31, 2019; exchanging one or more messages with Pupil A; after 11pm and/or overnight; messages in which he discussed personal matters and/or expressed personal opinions; and in which he also made unprofessional comments regarding one or more of his colleagues.

The hearing outlined how Casey attempted to block Pupil A on Instagram once he had been questioned about his communications. He also deleted the Instagram messages between himself and Pupil A.

In respect of Pupil B, whom he had first met whilst working as their teacher in Co Armagh, he accepted he lent him a sum of money and/or made one or more purchases for the student, before threatening him if he did not repay him.

He also phoned Pupil B repeatedly if he did not reply to his messages; sent text messages asking why Pupil B was ignoring him; and signed his text messages with ‘L.Y. FOREVER’ on more than one occasion.

He also threatened to call Pupil B’s mother if he did not respond to his messages; and threatened to kill himself if Pupil B did not remain friends with him.

As a result of his conduct in Co Armagh, Casey received cautions for offences of harassment and improper use of telecommunications.

In a concluding statement, the panel described Casey’s actions to be “calculated and motivated”.

The panel added: “[We] found that Mr Casey demonstrated a lack of insight into his behaviours and was concerned that there was a potential ongoing risk to pupils if he were to return to the profession.”

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