A teacher will be allowed to continue working despite police finding cannabis plants growing in her bathroom.
Shona Gray has been reprimanded by the General Teaching Council for Scotland for lying to police about the drugs – in what the watchdog described as a breach of the values at the “very heart” of her profession.
Police were called to Mrs Gray’s home in Stonehaven in 2013, following reports of a break-in.
But when they arrived, they found three plants and specialist lights in the bath.
The learning support teacher told officers they belonged to her and she was later cautioned.
Mrs Gray – who works at Mackie Academy and two local primary schools – subsequently faced a fitness to practice hearing before the GTCS.
She was accused of growing the illegal substance for personal use.
But when she gave evidence at the hearing in Edinburgh, she claimed she had only confessed to the police to protect her son.
Mrs Gray blamed her son’s friend, Adam Milne, who was staying at the property at the time of the incident and had made the initial call to police.
However, the panel also heard from Constable Paul Murphy who said he smelled the drug immediately when he entered the property.
Constable Murphy told the hearing Mrs Gray had claimed to be experimenting with growing the plants herself to avoid using local drug dealers.
Mr Milne later corroborated Mrs Gray’s evidence and said the drugs had nothing to do with her.
He also said he had been convicted of growing the plants and was fined and given unpaid work to complete.
As a result, the panel adjourned and later added another allegation – accusing Mrs Gray of being dishonest to the police.
Now they have made their ruling, and determined that although Mrs Gray was likely to have had prior knowledge of the cannabis there was no evidence she had been involved in their production.
However, their finding adds: “The panel was concerned that the respondent had acted dishonestly by providing the police with false information and that she did not reveal the truth to the prosecuting authorities until some time after the incident.
“Honesty and integrity are at the very heart of the teaching professions.
“At the time of the conduct, the panel found her actions fell significantly below the standards expected of a registered teacher.”
However, the panel accepted Mrs Gray had been through a “salutary” experience and was unlikely to re-offend, and noted she was “ashamed at her behaviour, expressed remorse and was adamant that nothing like this would happen again”.
They ruled although her fitness to teach was impaired, she should be allowed to continue teaching.
A reprimand – effectively a note of the incident and sanction – was put on her record for two years.
The watchdog’s decision adds: “The panel was satisfied that the matter was an isolated incident committed in a particular set of circumstances, which were unlikely to be repeated.
“There was clear evidence attesting to the good character and history of the respondent. The evidence showed her to be an exemplary and highly regarded teacher.”
Aberdeenshire Council last night confirmed it was aware of the panel’s decision.
A spokeswoman said: “We note the decision by the GTCS and will take appropriate action in line with our policies, procedures and guidance from the GTCS.”
Mrs Gray declined to comment.