A teacher from a UK primary school has been fired and prohibited from teaching indefinitely after posting photos of himself in underwear online and trying to sell sexual services.
St Columb Minor Academy teacher Thomas Heayel, 31, was recently found guilty by a Teaching Regulation Agency disciplinary hearing.
According to the Teaching Regulation Agency, the accusations against Heayel state that between February and July 2020 “he posted or allowed to be displayed one or more inappropriate images of himself on the internet.”
During that same time period, he also posted images, comments, or messages offering sexual services.
Heayel admitted to both posting inappropriate images and offering to sell sexual services. He also agreed that his conduct was unprofessional.
According to the official report, the panel explained their decision, writing, “Whilst the panel had regard to the fact that there was no evidence presented that any pupils had seen or accessed the images online, the panel did consider that as a teacher Mr Heayel was likely to be viewed as a role model by pupils.
“The panel noted that whilst the website where Mr Heayel posted the images was restricted, the images could also be accessed via a generic internet search and one image contained Mr Heayel’s name. “Consequently the images were in the public domain enabling any member of the public, or pupil, to have sight of them. The panel therefore concluded Mr Heayel’s behaviour would undoubtedly damage the public’s perception of the teaching profession and there were public interest factors to consider.”
The ruling means that Heayel is indefinitely no longer eligible to teach at “any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England.”
Heayel started teaching in September 2019 and he was dismissed on July 23, 2021, after his online photos were reported on July 7.
The ban will be in place for a minimum of two years, after which Heayel can apply to have the ban removed.
In a world where most of us have fairly sexed-up photos floating around on the internet somewhere, it's clear that some professions require us to continue to navigate the complex intersection of our personal lives and our professional lives.