BC teacher suspended for failing to enforce safety in woodworking shop | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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BC teacher suspended for failing to enforce safety in woodworking shop

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A BC teacher landed in hot water after a school principal spotted a woodworking student spinning wood on a drill and another using a lathe, both without safety glasses.

Joseph Gregory Gerich was suspended for five days. It was three years after those incidents, but multiple unchecked safety concerns came up both before and after the principal intervened in class that day, according to a decision from BC's teaching regulator.

The safety concerns spotted by the Quesnel school's principal in September 2020, along with his failure to keep a clean shop class, landed him a five-day suspension the next month, the BC Commissioner for Teaching Regulation decision read.

In the previous school year, he sent three students out of his class to "wrestle in the hall." The school's vice principal returned them to the class, where they were supposed to be working on safety booklets.

In March 2020, a student who wasn't enrolled in his class was using power tools without safety glasses. It wouldn't be the last time, as in 2022 the school principal ousted multiple un-enrolled students from his classroom.

Also in 2022, a student made a wooden knife in his class and threw it down a crowded hallway, where it narrowly missed someone's head.

Gerich told the school principal he wasn't sure what the student was working on when asked if the student made the knife in his class.

The school district raised concerns about safety in Gerich's shop class at least nine times, resulting in an investigation beginning in December 2020.

At the end of the investigation, he agreed on Nov. 4, to a second five-day suspension and was ordered to complete multiple safety courses.

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