A teacher accused of kissing and groping a student has admitted to drinking ‘excessively’ alcohol‘ on the night in question.
Ashley McConnell, 34, said she frequented several bars and ordered two drinks at once, as well as shots during a night out in Thurso, Caithness, with friends in March 2018.
The physics teacher, who taught at Thurso High School, then went to a local nightclub, Skinandi’s, where she allegedly danced with a student in a sexual manner.
It is also alleged that Mrs. McConnell, who was 30 at the time, kissed the 17-year-old ‘three or four times’, touched his buttocks and groin and held him by the hand.
However, Miss McConnell, aka Ashley Swanson, said yesterday that she had drunk so much that she couldn’t remember everything about that night.
The mother of two, then married, remembers the student standing in front of her, but cannot remember if anything more happened due to the amount of alcohol she drank.
Referring to the student she is said to have kissed as student A, she said, “I remember student A standing in front of me and I remember sharing the night with [a former pupil she tutored]†
“It had probably been about three years since I taught him.
Miss McDonnell allegedly danced sexually with a sixth-year student at Skinandi’s local nightclub in March 2018.
Physics teacher Ashley McConnell, 34 (pictured), who has been accused of groping and kissing a teenage student at a local nightclub in Caithness, Scotland, told school principals she “couldn’t remember” the incident.
‘I can’t remember the content of the conversation’ [on the night]† That was the truth, my memory of the evening was not clear, nothing really in detail.
“I don’t remember dancing with him, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t dance with him.
“I don’t remember any other things that could have happened, but that was my attempt to be as honest as possible.
“I think it’s very important to kiss someone, it’s something I would remember as I remember the confrontation and other memorable moments of the night.
“But I can’t say that because I don’t remember that it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
“You know someone who, when they drink too much alcohol, behaves in a way they wouldn’t otherwise.”
She added: ‘I spent most of my night in the smoking area or on the dance floor.
The physics teacher, who taught at Thurso High School, photographed, then went to a local club
‘I was still drinking, shots I believe, but I didn’t go to the bar.
“I can remember parts of the night and it’s not like I blacked out and didn’t remember the night, I can’t explain it, it’s just the effect of drinking large amounts of alcohol.
“I think I had two drinks at once in the pubs and shots in the club, but I’m not sure I remember drinking the shots.
“Absolutely, I would consider myself under the influence of alcohol.”
Miss McConnell was out for dinner and drinks for a colleague’s 50th birthday before going to Skinandi’s nightclub.
In between, she also visited several pubs where she continued to drink before going to the nightclub with French teacher Emilie Charton.
She said: ‘I traveled to Thurso with a colleague who also lived in Halkirk and we went to see a colleague’s Angela Sutherland’s 50th birthday, we ate and drank.
‘I remember drinking beer and I had quite a few, we left Angela’s house and went to Why Not, a pub in Thurso. I ordered beer and Jack Daniels.
“It was quite an excessive amount of alcohol when we went to Top Joe’s and I was really quite drunk at the time and I think after Top Joe’s I believe there were a lot of scientific colleagues who had gone out.
“By the time we left most of the people were going home, a few colleagues had suggested I might go home, but I didn’t feel like going home.
“I don’t think anyone really wanted to go to Skinandi’s, but I don’t think Emilie wanted me to go alone.
“The memories I have of Emilie being with me, and what Emilie has told me is that we were together most of the night and I have no reason not to believe her.
‘some bits’ [of a night out] you just don’t remember, but I do remember everyone going home and proposing me to do the same.’
Referring to accusations from students that she was “dirty dancing” with the schoolboy, she said: “It’s not something I remember, it’s not something that’s in the video the girls made.
‘I have not seen any evidence of that’ [sexy dancing] but I can’t say it didn’t happen, because I’ve had a lot to drink and I don’t have the clearest memory of the evening.’
Miss McConnell denied that there were any feelings for the boy other than the night of the alleged kiss.
The Scottish teacher admits to holding the teenager’s hands, but denies kissing him.
She has also been accused of telling two students at the club to fuck off before waving two fingers at them.
She then reportedly said she would “fight the bitch” in reference to one of the female apprentices.
Miss McConnell said, ‘I remembered an altercation with two girls.
‘The events in the smoking room were not clear to me.
“I had a confrontation in the smoking room, the two girls were talking really loudly about my personal life I believe to Emilie and it was meant to be heard, saying I wasn’t behaving the way I should have to do as a teacher, they felt sorry for my husband and my child and I think that touched a nerve.’
Miss McConnell is in danger of being removed from the register of teachers by the General Council for Scotland (GTCS) after an investigation into her alleged behaviour.
She was suspended after concerned students approached school principals with a video of the alleged incident.
Students who were in the nightclub said the teacher danced in a “sexualized” and “dirty” way.
The Thurso High School student accused of inappropriate behavior by Miss McConnell told school principals that he kissed her “three or four times.”
The process continues.