Student who reported inappropriate touching by teacher made to attend class anyway
Lockers in a school hallway. (Shutterstock)
Published Tuesday, October 15, 2019 5:42PM PDT
Last Updated Monday, November 4, 2019 12:39PM PST
VANCOUVER – The principal of a B.C. high school has been issued a three-day suspension for the way he responded to a student's troubling allegations against a teacher.
A newly released decision summary from B.C.'s Commissioner for Teacher Regulation reveals the student, whose age and gender were concealed to protect their identity, approached the principal in 2017 and complained that a teacher had "touched them inappropriately."
The student also asked to be removed from the teacher's class and for the principal to call their parents and tell them what happened – none of which was done with any urgency.
That's because the principal "doubted the credibility" of the student's allegations, according to the document. The principal didn't immediately remove the student from the class, which meant the high schooler had to face the teacher later that day.
The principal also waited seven hours to try and contact the student's mother, only picking up the phone at 3:30 p.m. when she was already on her way to pick up her children. As a result, she missed the call and was "not prepared to properly support (the student) at the end of the school day."
"(The principal) failed to adequately protect (the student) from emotional and physical harm," the summary reads.
After finding the principal made an assumption about the student's credibility, which impacted his judgment in responding to the complaint, the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation handed down a three-day suspension of his teaching certificate.
The summary leaves out many of the details normally included in disciplinary decisions, including the name of the principal, the exact date of the incident and even the location of the school district. Under B.C.'s Teachers Act, identifying information can be withheld from public documents to prevent cauisng "hardship to a person who was harmed, abused or exploited" by a teacher.