Kamloops-Thompson school district fighting kissing teacher reinstatement order | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops-Thompson school district fighting kissing teacher reinstatement order

October 20, 2020 - 5:30 PM

A Kamloops teacher who was fired in the aftermath of making a sexual advance on a 17-year-old former student — then lying about it — may get his job back despite the school district's protestations.

The teacher, Brett Wasylik, lost his job last year for being dishonest about a 2016 incident where he allegedly made an untoward advance on a former student while out at a restaurant. The initial incident occurred when Wasylik was out for an end-of-season celebration dinner and ran into the former student. There, he made "inappropriate comments to a former student and minor both privately and in public."

The district said that he "followed the former student into the parking lot, engaging in behaviour that left the individual feeling afraid," arbitrator Ken Saunders said in a ruling published online this week.

Initially Wasylik denied anything happened and the Kamloops-Thompson school district had insufficient evidence to conclude that he did what he was accused of. 

"The district bears the onus of proving the allegations and was unable to do that," reads the decision. "It was noted... the district believes the student more than Mr. Wasylik but that statement was made without any logic or reasoning."

In turn, Wasylik received a letter of reprimand and was suspended without pay for three days. He was also required to complete the reinforcing respectful professional boundaries course at the Justice Institute of British Columbia.

The issue was then kicked up to the British Columbia Commissioner for Teacher Regulation and in 2019 it investigated the school board's report.

That time around, Wasylik offered a different statement, admitting that he called the student “hot", showed her a shirtless picture of himself; and called out to her more than once for her to “come here”, among other things.

The Consent Resolution Agreement was published online and generated a lot of negative attention for the district.

In the aftermath of that admission, the district decided to fire him.

The B.C. Teachers Federation grieved the dismissal by invoking what they call “the labour relations doctrine of double jeopardy" which is a basic rule of arbitration law that an employer may not impose more than one penalty for the same offence.

It's an argument the arbitrator supported.

"In these circumstances, the issue is not properly characterized as whether (Wasylik) is to be rewarded for dishonesty," he said. "Nor is it a question of whether the Grievor has acted with clean hands as the Employer found his hands were dirty all along. The question is whether it is appropriate to discipline (Wasylik) again in 2019 for essentially the same circumstance the Employer relied on to support the 2016 suspension."

While the arbitrator says the job should be returned to Wasylik, the school district is digging in and released a statement today, Oct. 20.

"The circumstances giving rise to the Board’s decision to terminate Mr. Wasylik are fully set out in the Arbitrator’s decision. That decision has been appealed by the Kamloops-Thompson School District to the Labour Relations Board. No decision on the appeal has been rendered yet. Mr. Wasylik is not currently teaching," Diana Skoglund, from the Kamloops Thompson school district, said.

"The SD73 is committed to ensuring the safety and welfare of students and to ensuring that the public has confidence in the integrity of our teachers and staff. The District will continue to be vigilant in making sure that the interest of students is always put first, and that the trust which the public places in our school system is earned."

For privacy reasons, they say they are unable to comment further at this time.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 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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