February 10, 2016 - 11:05 AM
INVERMERE - A teacher at a Kootenay school agreed to cancel her teaching certificate after she sent text messages to a male student in her high school class telling him she found him attractive and to keep her texts secret.
The British Columbia Commissioner for Teaching Regulation said in a recent agreement that Daphne Anne Neal agreed to cancel her teaching certificate last month after discovering she reached out to the male student, sent him suggestive texts and then asked him to keep their communication secret.
“During November and December 2012, while teaching at a school in the (Rocky Mountain) district, Neal fails to maintain appropriate professional boundaries and inappropriately communicated through a series of text messages with a Grade 11 student in her class,” the regulator decision states. “In particular, on several occasions Neal sent the student messages late in the evening which were inappropriately personal in nature."
Within the 50 messages she sent to her student, Neal told him she found him attractive and asked to keep their messages secret. The regulator says in the messages, Neal realized her behaviour was ‘not right’ and mentioned she could be fired for sending them.
The regulator says Neal stated she was under the influence of alcohol when she sent most of the texts.
In December 2012, Neal apologized to the student for seeing him as an adult and not a student.
“I really need to remember you are just a kid. My apologies,” she wrote.
That month and in January 2013, the student did not attend several of Neal’s class because he felt uncomfortable. Neal did not notify the school or parents of his absence.
Once others became aware of the text messages, Neal spoke to the student during class time and asked him who he told, the regulator says, indicating it was a serious situation with severe consequences for her.
The regulator decision states Neal denied sending the messages once the district became involved. She said the student flirted with her and her text messages to him were only to ask him to stop.
As part of her agreement, Neal acknowledged the district’s investigation and findings were true and agreed to have her teaching certificate cancelled.
If she applies for a new certificate of qualification, an independent school teaching certificate or a letter of permission to teach, it will be up to the director to decide whether Neal is suitable to teach again.
To contact a reporter for this story, email Glynn Brothen at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-319-7494. To contact the editor, email email@example.com or call 250-718-2724.
-This story was corrected at 3:16 p.m., Feb. 11. An earlier story said Neal was fired. In fact, Neal and the Commissioner agreed her teaching certificate would be cancelled.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016