A teacher in B.C. was suspended for two weeks after they failed to maintain “professional boundaries” with two students in 2022.
In a consent resolution agreement released Tuesday, the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation (BCCTR) said a teacher in an unnamed school district breached professional boundaries when they began spending a “significant amount of time” with two students and texted them over a long period of time.
The BCCTR says the teacher messaged the two students over a period of seven months, with some texts being exchanged after hours or at night without either of the students’ parents knowledge.
“At one point, the teacher directed one of the students to delete the text messages which they had exchanged,” said the BCCTR.
In another incident, the teacher received a text from one of the students indicating that they may harm themselves.
The teacher did not pass the information along and failed to take “appropriate reporting steps,” according to the BCCTR.
Eventually, the students would see the teacher “almost daily,” including at times when they should have been attending class.
The principal of the school later told the teacher the students needed to go back to class, but the teacher did not take any actions to address the “level of attachment” the students had towards them, according to the BCCTR.
Suspension during the 2022/23 school year
On Sept. 14, 2022, the school district suspended the teacher for nine days without pay and transferred them to a different school for the remainder of the school year, with a ban on reapplying for a position at the same school.
The teacher was also required to complete a B.C. Teacher Federation workshop called “Professional Boundary Issues: Teacher/Student Relationships” and had to undergo a teaching evaluation for that school year.
Later, the teacher signed the consent resolution agreement which included a two-week suspension and a requirement to complete the course “Reinforcing Respectful Professional Boundaries.”
The BCCTR says it decided a two-week suspension was appropriate because the teacher failed to maintain appropriate professional boundaries with the students, who are described as “vulnerable,” which resulted in emotional harm.
The teacher was also reprimanded for not making a report when one of the students disclosed a risk of self harm.