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Former B.C. teacher suspended for not understanding boundaries

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May 11, 2021 - 2:12 PM

A former B.C. teacher was suspended for six months and ordered to take courses if he intends to teach again because he demonstrated several times that he doesn’t understand boundaries.

Erik Christian Oun resigned as a teacher with School District 43 in Coquitlam after three complaints, two of which were about Oun carrying on texting students through Instagram, hugging, and in one case, shared information about another student, according to a recent decision from the Commission for Teacher Regulation.

Two complaints contained many of the same facts. In both cases, Oun sought permission or appeared to seek permission from parents to text "a very few select former students" from his Grade 5 class in 2018-19 year and the following summer. 

The commissioner noted that he often hugged students, called them “sweetheart”, “sweetie”, “sweets” and “goof” along with red and purple hearts.

With one student, he continued to text even without getting responses. At those times, he implored the student with “DON’T BE SNOBBY ANSWER ME” and sent a photo of a begging dog and a crying man and a short clip of a crying baby.

“(The student) doesn’t like talking to me anymore. Sniff.”

He also appeared to be checking Instagram for when the student was online: “Aha. Caught you!”, “Hey are you still allowed to chat? You’re not answering!”, and “If I’ bugging you too much, I’m sorry.”

The commissioner said the texts were “persistent and unwelcome.”

When the student’s parent got involved and asked him to stop, he apologized, acknowledged poor judgment and promised to stop texting “so much” then texted the student again. He also once told the student his family was gone for the weekend and asked the student what they were doing.

He appeared to move on to another former student that summer. He got that student to get permission from her parents to receive his texts, telling the student “I’m very happy” when she got it. He also wrote that he emailed the student’s mother to “check in.”

“It looks good if I say we talked too,” he wrote.

Then he continued texting, commenting on the student’s photos “I love how you pose for pics” and “in the pic you look adorable.”

When he found a spelling mistake, he texted the student was “still cute.”

He continued texting, including tell the student he was watching their Instagram video, that he “loved them” and later wrote: “Miss you lots!”

When the student stopped replying, he again appeared to get upset, calling them a “snob”.

“Hey are you ever going to respond stranger? Too cool for me now?”

He was also cited for hugging students generally as well as disclosing sensitive information about one student to another student.

Oun was previously suspended for 25 days without pay and Oun resigned almost a year later. He was ordered suspended for six months and must take remedial courses if he intends to ever teach again.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Marshall Jones or call 250-718-2724 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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