A former teacher at a Haslingden school who had a relationship with a vulnerable 15-year-old girl pupil which culminated in him performing a sex act on her has been blacklisted for life by the teaching profession.
A disciplinary panel found Daniel Laurikietis, 32, guilty of conduct of a “dishonest and sexually motivated nature” while teaching at Haslingden High School. Now he has been banned from the country’s classrooms for life in a decision taken on behalf of Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan.
A National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) professional conduct panel found that Laurikietis “failed to maintain professional boundaries” towards the girl, referred to in their findings only as Pupil A.
Panel chair Nicolé Jackson said: “This case relates to an inappropriate relationship that developed between a pupil and teacher that was instigated through social media and text message channels when the pupil was 15 years of age. Inappropriate personal information was exchanged between the parties relating to the teacher’s health and his knowledge of another pupil.
“The teacher became aware of significant health issues affecting the pupil which were withheld from the school’s senior management team. The teacher proceeded to develop a close personal relationship with the pupil during which the health issues affecting the pupil were frequently discussed. Around three years after the start of the relationship the pupil attended the teacher’s house, significant alcohol was consumed and sexual contact took place, including the performance of a sexual act by the teacher on the pupil.”
The panel found that the relationship was instigated through popular social networking sites and text messaging, despite earlier warnings to Laurikietis about his previous inappropriate contact with students through social media. Laurikietis admitted all of the allegations against him.
The NCTL findings say Laurikietis had ultimately invited Pupil A to his house at a particularly vulnerable time and he had then proceeded to “drink in excess with her”.
The findings continue : “Amongst other things, the situation developed to you performing a sexual act on her.”
Recommending that Laurikietis should be banned the findings say that the sexual activity took place “long after the pupil’s mental health issues had been revealed to the teacher”, and that these should have been referred on to those more qualified to help.
Imposing the ban on behalf of the Secretary of State, NCTL deputy director Alan Meyrick said: “This case involves extensive abuse of a position of trust and a blatant disregard for the need to safeguard Pupil A’s well- being. The actions show a disregard for the school’s policies and practices.
I agree with the panel’s recommendation that a prohibition order is a proportionate and appropriate sanction.”
Making it a life-time ban he added: “Mr Laurikietis’s conduct was particularly serious. It involved a wholly inappropriate relationship with a vulnerable student that culminated in the consumption of alcohol and sexual activity.
“Whilst he has acknowledged his mistakes he has shown little regard for the effect his behaviour had on the pupil concerned. In all the circumstances I agree that the order should be without provision for an application to apply for it to be set aside.”
The decision means that Laurikietis is prohibited from teaching indefinitely in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England.
He has a right of appeal to the High Court.