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from www.scotsman.com – A MARRIED teacher is expected to appear in court today after being charged over an alleged sexual relationship with a teenage school pupil.
Bernadette Smith, a former history teacher at Bannockburn High School in Stirling, was held in police custody over the weekend after resigning from her position.
The 35-year-old mother of three, who is reported to have had a relationship with a 17-year-old pupil, is said to have resigned after the boy’s family met the school’s headteacher on Thursday.
The teacher is understood to have been suspended by the school on Friday morning, before later handing in her resignation.
Sources said she had been interviewed by police child protection officers. She is expected to appear at Stirling Sheriff Court today.
While it is against the law for anyone to have sex with a person under the age of 16, teachers and others in a “position of trust” also have a responsibility under the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 not to engage in sexual activity with anyone under the age of 18.
Smith, who lives with her family in Denny, Stirlingshire, had been listed on the school’s website as a history teacher who worked in the department of Citizenship and Culture. However, by yesterday her name had been removed.
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that a 35-year-old female is being held in respect to an alleged sexual crime which recently happened in the Stirling area.”
No one was at the teacher’s home or her mother’s house nearby when reporters called at the weekend.
A school source who spoke to a Sunday newspaper said: “Apparently, social services were summoned after a complaint was made by a parent. The police also became involved pretty quickly.
“Staff were instructed not to speak to anyone about it. It’s an extremely serious matter. People are utterly flabbergasted and quite upset.”
Last week, another teacher, Eppie Sprung Dawson, avoided a jail term after she had sex with a 17-year-old pupil in the front seat of her car.
The 27-year-old had been put on a six-month community payback order in July. Last week Dumfries Sheriff Court heard how she is now undergoing counselling and making good progress.
Dawson, who is on the sex offenders’ register for six months, is now understood to be living with her former pupil.
The General Teaching Council for Scotland, the profession’s regulatory body, is now investigating that particular case.
Stirling Council declined to comment on the case at Bannockburn High.
A spokesman said: “As this is now a police matter, we are not able to make any comment at this time.”
A spokesman for the General Teaching Council for Scotland also declined to comment.