EXCLUSIVE: Concerned father speaks out about inappropriate relationship Victoria teacher had with his son. Tess van Straaten reports.
A concerned father is speaking out about a Victoria teacher who had an inappropriate relationship with his son.
“This goes far beyond a teacher-mentor child relationship,” says the dad, who CHEK News is not naming to protect his child’s identity.
“This was completely inappropriate.”
It started in May of 2013 when his son was 15-years-old and a student at Victoria High School. The relationship continued throughout summer holidays.
The dad says teacher Robert Ammon bought the boy expensive gifts, spent time with him alone outside of school and sent him emails and text messages at all hours of the day and night.
He told the child he loved him and all the secret messages drove a wedge between the teen and his parents.
“That is completely grooming and although Mr. Ammon likes to say there’s been nothing sexual, let’s just add the word “yet” and really that’s what it boils down to,” the dad said.
“It should have been investigated by the police. Instead, they tried to bury it.”
The family says they repeatedly asked for the school to intervene and for the teacher to be removed.
But the School District 61 superintendent at the time, John Gaiptman, gave the teacher a letter of reprimand instead and he was left at the school.
“Had this been my daughter, no question the teacher would have been suspended immediately,”the dad said “My son had to see him at school and he would come home really upset.”
It all became too much for the teen, who’s adopted and was having trouble with his parents.
He dropped out of school, ran away from home and ended up in rehab.
But his parents kept pushing for action and after four years, they’re finally getting it.
The Teacher Regulation Branch (TRB) found the teacher guilty of professional misconduct.
There was no indication of a sexual relationship, but the TRB found the teacher’s actions created a “significant risk of emotional harm to a vulnerable student” and afive-monthh suspension was announced May 1.
But the family was shocked to learn Robert Ammon is still teaching at Vic High.
The school district says that’s because the suspension timeline is up to the teacher and TRB.
“It is unfortunate it took so much time to bring this situation to [a] conclusion and I certainly understand the stresses that brings to everyone involved,” School District 61 superintendent Piet Langstraat, who’s tenure started after the incident took place, said.
Langstraat says he can suspend a teacher if student safety is at risk, but couldn’t comment on why that wasn’t done in this case.
Ammon’s suspension is expected to take effect next school year but the teen’s family says it’s too little, too late.
“In dragging it out, the teacher has been left in the school and I’m worried other students could be at risk,” the dad said. “The entire thing has been ridiculous.”