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B.C. teacher gets 3-day suspension for throwing things in the classroom

A broken pencil is seen in this stock image. (shutterstock.com) A broken pencil is seen in this stock image. (shutterstock.com)
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A B.C. teacher who threw things toward students out of frustration twice in less than two months has received a brief suspension for his actions.

Justin Ray Arnesto's teaching certificate will be suspended for three days from May 22 to May 24 of this year for misconduct that occurred while he was teaching at a secondary school in the Fraser-Cascade School District in early 2022.

Arnesto acknowledged his misconduct in a consent resolution agreement with the province's Commissioner for Teacher Regulation on Feb. 6. A redacted version of the agreement was published on the commissioner's website Tuesday. 

In it, Arnesto admits to two instances in which he threw things at or toward students with whom he was angry. The first incident occurred on Jan. 19, 2022, while he was teaching Grade 8 students.

On that occasion, Arnesto believed a student – referred to in the agreement as "Student A" – was not paying attention.

"Arnesto threw a small computer charging device (the "object") at Student A," the document reads. "The object hit the back wall of the classroom."

Concerned about "potential consequences" he could face as a result of his actions, the teacher decided to talk to Student A at lunch, according to the consent agreement, which notes that the student did not want to talk to him.

"Arnesto tried to direct Student A to an empty room, but Student A refused to go," the agreement reads.

"Arnesto told Student A words to the effect that he did not mean to throw the object and that he threw it near Student A, not at Student A. Arnesto said he threw the object at Student A because he was frustrated."

When the student said they would talk to the school's principal, "Arnesto was afraid and angry," the agreement reads, noting that he told the student that the principal would not believe the student and would take his side.

"At this point, Student A saw the principal some distance away in the hallway and went to speak with her," the document reads. "Arnesto followed Student A and also attempted to speak to the principal to tell his 'side of the story.'"

Less than two months later, on March 7, 2022, Arnesto again "became angry and frustrated by the behaviour of some students" in his Grade 8 class, according to the agreement.

"Arnesto broke a pencil and threw it in the direction of a student," the document reads.

Ten days later, the school district issued him a letter of discipline for the pencil incident, directing him to "complete remedial work to improve his emotional regulation."

The district was initially unable to proceed with its investigation of the January incident, according to the agreement, because he was not at work in part of May and June 2022 and again from September 2022 to late January 2023.

In June 2023, the district disciplined Arnesto for the January 2022 incident by suspending him without pay for one day.

The Commissioner for Teacher Regulation took up the issue in September 2023 and proposed the consent resolution agreement to Arnesto.

In addition to admitting his misconduct and agreeing to a three-day suspension of his teaching certificate, Arnesto agreed in the document to complete the course "Creating a Positive Learning Environment" through the Justice Institute of British Columbia.

The commissioner considered several factors when determining what discipline Arnesto should face, including the teacher's failure to "create a positive, safe and inclusive learning environment," his failure to model appropriate behaviour and his misuse of his position of power in the case of Student A.

"Arnesto used his position of power and trust for his own benefit by making Student A speak with him and attempting to coerce Student A so that Arnesto could limit the potential consequences of his action," the agreement reads. 

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