Teacher sacked after using school computers to do her online shopping

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Dr Thelma Geneva Fox

An IT teacher has been sacked after she bypassed her school’s firewall so that she could use a computer to do some online shopping.

Dr Thelma Geneva Fox managed to visit various online stores that had been blocked at the Longcroft School and Sixth Form College in Beverley, East Yorkshire, by using a Google plug-in device.

In her evidence to a National College for Teaching and Leadership panel, Dr Fox said the Google device found in October 2014 automatically synced to her work computer via her Google account, to replicate her home settings.

In addition to using a proxy server to assist a student, she said she had also accessed the Asda site before the start of the school day.

Sacked: Dr Fox bypassed a school’s firewall to do online shopping (SWNS)

Dr Fox said that she had not been made aware of any issue by the school but some students raised concerns about her IT lessons.

The panel has now found her guilty of unprofessional conduct and behaviour which could have brought the profession into disrepute.

The findings, published on behalf of the Secretary of State said: “The panel has found that Dr Fox engaged in conduct that had some potential to cause harm and failed to act as a role model.”

It added: “Although Dr Fox’s conduct was serious, the panel was clear that it was at the lower end of the spectrum of seriousness, albeit sufficient to give rise to a finding of unacceptable professional misconduct.”

Lessons: Dr Fox was an IT teacher at the Longcroft School and Sixth Form College (Google)

The panel found Dr Fox “demonstrated a degree of remorse for her conduct and some insight as to what she had done wrong”, adding that she said she would “never repeat her conduct and the panel was satisfied that the risk of repetition is minimal”.

But the panel did not proceed on allegations of inappropriate language said to have been used by Dr Fox, who has not worked as a teacher since January y 2015, while addressing students.

It was claimed she told one pupil: “Your mother is like a chicken coop, c**** fly in and out all day.”

However, the panel threw out the claims because the hearsay evidence from students was not considered admissible.

Longcroft School did not wish to comment.

Top pic: SWNS