NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Teacher reprimanded over pupil 'porn star' nicknames

Graeme Cowie Image copyright Deadline

An Aberdeenshire teacher who gave pupils "porn star" nicknames during a speech at a leavers' assembly has been reprimanded.

Graeme Cowie appeared before the General Teaching Council for Scotland after the incident at Mearns Academy in Laurencekirk in April last year.

He told the hearing that he "deeply regretted" the content of the speech.

Mr Cowie was given a 12 month conditional registration order, with his future behaviour being monitored.

The hearing was told that he fed the names of the S6 pupils into a "porn star generator" website ahead of the leavers assembly.

Head teacher David Martindale said he was "stunned" when Mr Cowie started reading each individual name aloud.

But he said he did not want to stop the assembly in case it caused resentment and negativity on the last day of school before exams.

Mr Martindale said he heard that one leaver later described the speech as "career wrecking" but he had received no complaints from parents or pupils.

Angela Wotherspoon, the depute head, said Mr Cowie also swore during his speech, and referred to a pupil having wet himself in S1.

'Emotions, ego and arrogance'

She said he made reference to a child protection incident which involved "sexting".

The GTCS hearing heard that the incident had a "significant impact" on Ms Wotherspoon.

"She felt responsible for being unable to stop him and having the pupils exposed to his behaviour in this way," the report said.

Mr Cowie gave the speech after taking up a new role at another school.

He was invited back to Mearns Academy for the leavers assembly as he had been year head for the group since S1.

Mr Cowie admitted the facts set out in the complaint and he took "full responsibility for the offence and upset he had caused".

The hearing heard that he believed his "emotions, ego and arrogance took over and he lost control of the situation".

It was told that he fed off the youngsters, who were enjoying the speech. "They found it hilarious and he just kept going", the hearing was told.

He said he never knowingly referred to a child protection issue but admitted his throwaway comments may have "struck a nerve" without him knowing.

The hearing heard he hoped the panel would recognise his skills and personal values that would ensure his compliance with GTCS standards in future.

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