A high school teacher who met a student at a bar for drinks has been censured.

The Teacher's Disciplinary Tribunal said the woman teacher's actions with a male Year 13 student amounted to "serious misconduct".

The teacher, whose name and school have been suppressed, had been having dinner and drinks with colleagues to mark her last day at the school before she headed overseas for a year.

After going to another bar for more drinks, she became "heavily intoxicated", the tribunal's decision said.


She texted a student, who had earlier sent her his mobile number when the two were emailing each other about a school assignment.

He told her he was at a bar, and she joined him there to share some drinks before she left the bar alone.

The tribunal says there was no suggestion of a romantic or sexual aspect to the incident. But it was still a "very serious lapse of judgement that could have had highly adverse consequences".

It rejected the defence from the teacher's lawyer that she had completed her employment at the school and therefore the incident was not as serious.

In deciding its punishment, the tribunal said it was a "one-off" lapse by the teacher and there was no indication of any pattern of behaviour or misunderstanding of what her professional boundaries were.

It was the only time she had given a personal number to a student, and she had initially done so to discuss schoolwork.

The tribunal also noted her background of anxiety, depression and drinking problems. She had been sober for three months when she decided to drink at the farewell dinner. Since the incident she had re-committed to sobriety and had been attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings.

The teacher was censured and ordered to keep attending counselling and AA meetings for up to two years after resuming teaching.


She also had to advise any prospective employer of the tribunal's decision for the next two years. Her censure and the conditions would be recorded on the teachers' register.