SCHOOLGIRL Megan Stammers running away with her maths teacher is not the first time Bishop Bell School has faced a relationship scandal.
The 15-year-old fled the Channel on Thursday evening (September 24) with Jeremy Forrest and police are now working with French authorities to try and trace them.
This week it emerged Bishop Bell School was investigating a relationship between the pair before they ran away.
Terry Boatwright, executive headteacher at Bishop Bell, said, “Because the investigations are on-going we’re not going to comment in detail. However, the school and the county council had been addressing and investigating concerns that had been raised, in line with procedure, when this happened. That investigation will continue and we will decide what action to take.”
But this is not the first time the school has had to deal with a scandal.
In 2009, 27-year-old Bishop Bell teacher Robert Healy was jailed for using a website to groom girls aged 15 and 16 for sex.
He was originally jailed for seven years at Lewes Crown Court in January 2009 after admitting three counts of sexual activity with a child, and seven further counts of having sex with a child while in a position of authority. However, this sentence was reduced to four years on appeal.
Healy, of Park Dean Lane, Friston, used social networking sites such as Bebo and his mobile phone to strike up a rapport with each girl outside school hours.
The first girl – aged 15 at the time – had a sexual relationship with Healy which was ended ‘by mutual agreement’ two months later.
He first ‘messaged’ her on Bebo, telling her she looked ‘stunning’, and after further ‘grooming’, he took her to an empty flat for sex.
His second 16-year-old victim was seduced by Healy through ‘social meetings outside school’ and via Internet chat rooms. They had full sex on eight or nine occasions, the court heard.
As the story of Megan’s relationship with her teacher broke over the weekend. Mr Boatwright said he was shocked by the incident.
Mr Boatwright said, “The whole school community is deeply concerned for Megan and shocked by what has happened. The thoughts and prayers of us all are with Megan and her family at this time.
“We would urge her to get in touch with her family to let them know she is okay and we would echo the police’s call for anyone with information to contact them.
“Clearly, everyone’s main concern is Megan’s safe return home. As a matter of urgency the School and Local Authority are investigating exactly what has happened before deciding what action needs to be taken.
“We are in close contact with police who are at a critical stage of their investigation and, for that reason, we cannot comment further at this stage.”