‘Fat-shaming’ Aberdeenshire teacher faces dismissal
A teacher is facing dismissal for allegedly fat-shaming and refusing to teach a schoolgirl whose bra strap was visible.
Andrew Gibson, a business studies teacher, has been accused of ‘singling out’ a pupil who took off her hoodie during a lesson at Westhill Academy in Aberdeenshire.
He reportedly said he was ‘deeply uncomfortable’ with what the schoolgirl was wearing as he could see her shoulder and her bra strap.
It is also claimed that he said there was a “level of risk” regarding his outfit.
In another incident, Mr Gibson apparently told his class not to applaud a student because their presentation “wasn’t good enough to deserve applause”.
Other charges claim Mr Gibson ‘mocked’ a pupil by making an impression of her by shaking her hair.
He is also accused of calling the students “fat”, swearing in front of his class and using the word “b******s”.
Andrew Gibson has been accused of ‘isolating’ a pupil who took off her hoodie during a lesson at Westhill Academy in Aberdeenshire
Mr Gibson accused a colleague of ‘bullying’ and ‘victimizing’ him and apparently made derogatory remarks about another teacher’s lessons.
He also reportedly held a bottle of liquid in his lap and asked students at Westhill Academy in Aberdeenshire: “Do you know what that looks like?”.
He faces being removed from the teachers’ register following an investigation into comments by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).
The education regulator is looking at more than 20 allegations against Mr Gibson which date from February 2017 to December 2017 at the school.
Westhill Academy principal Alison Reid said yesterday: ‘He seemed worried that the pupils weren’t in uniform, especially with the girls and the way they were dressed.
“He didn’t explain in detail why, but he certainly was.”
Referring to an incident where he refused to teach a pupil after she took off her jumper, she said: ‘The middle floor gets really hot and it was in a computer lab so the pupil took off his hoodie.
“I understand other students had taken off their hoodies or sweaters, but Mr. Gibson focused on her.
‘My understanding was that it was [appropriate in line with the dress code].
“He was told that if he had any concerns about a pupil’s dress, he should speak to his guidance teacher and not the pupil.
“It went against what we had agreed that he had agreed and singling out a pupil could have been so isolating.”
Sarah Colville, the school’s deputy principal, said: ‘[The girl who was not allowed to take her jumper off] she was roasting and there were no windows open or fans on.
“He could see her shoulder and a bra strap. They argued a bit. There were other students dressed in the same way.
‘Andy said he was deeply uncomfortable [with what Pupil A was wearing]. He kept saying he was concerned about the false accusations.
“I really felt it wouldn’t have gotten out of hand if the windows had been opened or a fan had been turned on. It definitely singled out the student.
She added that after a meeting between her, faculty director Peter Hagan and Mr. Gibson: “Mr. Hagan left the office, I got up to go, then he closed the door and just stood up.
“He was just a little hidden and he’s a big guy.
“Then he made the comment ‘what would it be like if someone walked past your office and I’m in the corner, like the vice principal was hitting on me’.
“I was amazed, I was totally baffled.
“I was like ‘oh my god, I’m vulnerable here’.”
Jason Fitzgerald, another vice principal at the school, said: “There were other girls dressed similarly.
“He used phrases that he didn’t want exposed to arms, bra straps. He said there was a level of risk and that worried me.
“I was deeply uneasy the more I thought about what he was saying. The fact that he didn’t want to be left “open to this level of risk”.
“Those are his words and they remain etched in my memory. This is not a normal conversation to have at school.
Mr Gibson is at risk of being removed from the teachers’ register following an investigation into his alleged remarks.
The hearing continues.