Ponytail pulling B.C. teacher suspended briefly | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Ponytail pulling B.C. teacher suspended briefly

Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
January 22, 2020 - 5:30 PM


A B.C. teacher was suspended for a series of boundary-pushing incidents that included ponytail pulling and swearing.

According to the B.C. commissioner for teacher regulation, episodes of professional misconduct occurred between 2016 and 2019.

The first took place in the 2016/2017 school year, when the teacher repeatedly pulled on a student's ponytail and once poked them in the stomach.

"The student reported feeling uncomfortable," the report reads.

During the 2016/2017 school year the teacher used inappropriate language in the classroom, including the words "fuck" and "bitch."  The teacher also said "retarded" and "bitch" to no one in particular and, on occasion, used "inappropriate terms of endearment with female students."

Between June and August 2017, the teacher was reported for crossing boundaries with another student and making them feel uncomfortable.

In this case, they used Facebook messenger to exchange a number of messages with a student about movie recommendations.

"The student felt uncomfortable with the exchanges and reported them to school administrators," reads the report.

On Dec. 18, 2017, the district issued the teacher a letter of discretion reminding them that communicating with a student outside the educational setting, the school calendar year and school day crosses acceptable boundaries.

The teacher was also instructed to not discuss the matter with anyone other than their union representative.

They were unable to carry out that instruction and in February 2018, the teacher approached the student again, saying they weren't sure if they should be but they wanted to offer an apology, nonetheless.

They apparently couldn't understand why the student made a report about the messages and indicated they were negatively affected by the district because of the report.

This interaction affected the student negatively, the commissioner said.

At all times the person was employed as a high school teacher in B.C.

On Jan. 3, 2019, the district they worked in made a report to the commissioner regarding the teacher and issued the teacher a letter of discipline. The teacher was suspended for 12 days without pay and required to complete a Justice Institute of B.C. course, reinforcing professional boundaries.

The teacher completed the course in March 2019 and was also transferred to a different district.

The teacher later entered into a consent resolution agreement with the commissioner in which they agreed their conduct constituted misconduct and was contrary to the standards for education, competence and professional conduct of educators.

The name of the teacher and the school district where they worked has been left out of the report.

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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