Teacher reprimanded over stripping

A male teacher who moonlighted as a stripper and appeared in pornographic films was today found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct but left free to continue teaching.

Benedict Garrett, 31, was given a reprimand after a two-day disciplinary hearing in front of the General Teaching Council (GTC) in Birmingham.

The disciplinary committee heard that Mr Garrett had been stripping in clubs and working as a naked butler while he was employed as head of personal, social and health education at Beal High School in Ilford, east London.

Derek Johns, chairman of the panel, told Mr Garrett: "The committee is content that you have sufficient insight and would not repeat this behaviour should you resume teaching."

He added: "You have stated that you will continue to advocate the morality and acceptability of your involvement in the adult industry and argue that it should not be inappropriate for a teacher to work as a stripper or in pornographic films.

"However, the committee is content that you recognise the widely held public view that such work is not acceptable conduct for a teacher.

"Therefore, in relation to risk of repetition, the committee considers it is unlikely that you will seek to return to the teaching profession whilst working as a stripper or in pornographic films."

Mr Garrett, who uses the pseudonym Johnny Anglais, had admitted working in the adult industry but argued that it did not amount to unacceptable professional conduct since none of his behaviour was illegal.

On his website, Mr Garrett, from Hackney, east London, offers services including lap dancing, stripping and serving food in the nude at private dinner parties.

He describes himself as a "A man with a mission...to unashamedly demonstrate the art of pleasure in the realms of fitness, sex and entertainment."

The website, which could be easily accessed by pupils, features pictures of Mr Garrett in a series of torso-baring outfits. His online gallery shows him dressed as a fireman, a "gentleman" in just underwear and a waistcoat, and a policeman.

Mr Johns told the former teacher: "Having carefully considered the submissions and applied its own judgment, the committee considers that performing as a stripper, publishing details of your performances on a dedicated website and acting in pornographic films, amounts to behaviour which involves a breach of the standards of propriety expected of the profession.

"The public expects teachers to be role models within the school community.

"In the committee's judgment, the prevailing view of society is that the nature of your involvement in the adult industry whilst working as a teacher is conduct which falls below the standard expected of the profession.

"The committee therefore finds that you are guilty of unacceptable professional conduct."

Mr Garrett taught at the school from January 1 2008 until July 16 last year.

An investigation was launched after students reported seeing their teacher in a trailer for an adult film.

Mr Johns said the panel believed the reprimand was a "proportionate" sanction and told Mr Garrett: "The committee has been impressed by the respectful and professional way in which you have represented yourself at this hearing generally and the submissions made by you in mitigation."

Mr Garrett was also found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct in relation to messages he exchanged by email and on Facebook with Year 10 students. He had admitted the allegation.

Mr Johns said: "The committee considers - and you accepted - that by engaging in communication with the students at the school via text message, email and Facebook you were guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

"The committee received a copy of the school's policy on communication. It considers that this policy is clear and explicit.

"It states that you must never 'friend' a student on a personal social networking site.

"You breached this policy and used Facebook under a false name to enter into discussions of a personal nature with students at the school.

"Further, you exchanged texts and emails with students."

The chairman added: "In the committee's judgment, you repeatedly failed to establish and maintain appropriate professional boundaries in your relationships with children and young people."

An allegation that Mr Garrett left inappropriate voicemail messages on the mobile phone of the school's associate head teacher was unproven.

The reprimand will remain on the GTC's register for two years.