As a school caretaker entered a classroom at Ruapehu College one evening, he was surprised to see a teacher and a student still in class.
The pair looked shocked to see the man. The teacher was very close to his student, the caretaker said, standing right beside her as if he was instructing her over a piece of work.
“A flash went through me and I thought ‘shit, is something happening there?”
It was later discovered that the teacher, Jerry Jordan, was in a secret relationship with the year 13 student that involved sex acts in the classroom and eventual rendezvous at local hotels.
In a decision of the Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal released this month, Jordan was stripped of his registration after an allegation of an inappropriate relationship with the student several years ago was established.
Jordan’s behaviour was the “absolute antithesis” of how a teacher should act, and he “cynically exploited a vulnerable student for his own sexual gratification”, the tribunal said.
Jordan denied he had a sexual relationship with the student, saying a relationship was not possible as the student was “furious” with him for foiling an alleged in-school drug deal.
The decision says the history and social studies teacher repeatedly engaged in sex acts with the student, whose identity is suppressed.
The relationship involved sharing nude images via social media, oral and penetrative sex and inappropriate touching, sometimes in class. The student attempted to end the relationship but was persuaded not to by Jordan.
By the time the student had moved to university, Jordan would visit and book hotel rooms for them to meet in. The student eventually became upset with Jordan, who then ended the relationship.
Jordan’s conduct only came to light about three years later when the former student laid a police complaint, concerned the teacher would enter into a relationship with another student.
The police notified the Ministry of Education of the complaint, which in turn notified the college. A mandatory report was then made to the Teaching Council which laid a charge of serious misconduct against Jordan.
The student said the relationship began relatively innocently with the teacher touching her knee and hugging her, but it soon progressed to kissing and sex.
Jerry Jordan. Photo / File
They were spending long periods of time together after school, occasionally having sex in the teacher’s home and in hotels.
Another student who gave evidence said the pair often spent break time together. The female student later admitted to this friend she had been in a relationship with Jordan.
Two university acquaintances also gave evidence, both saying the student revealed to them she had been in an inappropriate relationship with a teacher.
One of the witnesses said the student appeared to feel guilty and “didn’t want to screw up this guy’s life”.
In response to the charge, Jordan said the student had a strong dislike for him after he foiled an alleged drug deal she intended to partake in.
“She refused to speak to me other than what was absolutely required in class. Even then she was rude and abrupt,” he said.
He also claimed he could not have been seen at school after hours, as he worked from home when school finished.
Ultimately, the tribunal favoured the evidence of the student and other witnesses.
It found the charge of serious misconduct was established, and determined cancellation was the only appropriate penalty. Jordan was also ordered to pay 50 per cent of the tribunal’s costs.
“We are bolstered in that conclusion by the respondent’s attitude demonstrated in the material he submitted to us. He has shown no insight or remorse,” deputy-chair Ian Murray wrote in his decision.
Murray added the relationship had a deep and lasting impact on the student’s life.
Both Jordan and Ruapehu College sought name suppression, but the tribunal declined both applications. The teacher no longer works for the school.
Ethan Griffiths covers crime and justice stories nationwide for Open Justice. He joined NZME in 2020, previously working as a regional reporter in Whanganui and South Taranaki.
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