A Cowichan Valley School District physical education (P.E.) teacher has been suspended for four days after a student fractured their shoulder blade during one of his classes last year.
The injury occurred in June 2022 while students were playing a game invented by the P.E. class.
As part of a year-end project, P.E. teacher Shannon Steininger tasked students with inventing their own game.
On June 6, students played the game for the first time in front of Steininger, which was a combination of touch football and ultimate frisbee.
The game allowed for tackling, and Steininger was unaware of the rules until it was played for the first time, according to a consent resolution agreement released by the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation (BCCTR) on Aug. 29, 2023.
During that class, Steininger had to shut down the game because “students were playing too roughly.”
Two days later, on June 8, students played the game again. The kids were warned to tone down the roughhousing three times before Steininger stopped the class for safety concerns, including one student who had their shirt ripped.
After this second class, the BCCTR says another teacher told Steininger that the game was unsafe and that the rules should be revised.
Day of injury
On June 10, students in Steininger’s class, as well as another P.E. class, went to a local park to play the game for a third time.
A teacher on call also accompanied the classes, which quickly grew physical and aggressive.
“Two other adults who were present, including the teacher on call, told Steininger that he needed to intervene due to the mounting safety concerns,” reads the consent resolution agreement.
Steininger warned the class once that the game would end if the physical contact continued before the injury ultimately occurred.
One student lifted up another student around their knees and dropped them to the ground, according to the BCCTR, resulting in the dropped student fracturing their shoulder blade.
The school district initially suspended Steininger for one day without pay in September 2022 for the incident.
The BCCTR later reviewed the matter in November 2022 and ultimately decided that Steininger would have his teaching certificate suspended for four days because he “failed to maintain a safe and positive learning environment for his students.”
“Despite the concerns expressed by other adults, including the teacher on call, about the escalating physicality of the game, Steininger did not respond in a timely or effective manner so as to prevent harm to students,” reads the consent resolution agreement.
The suspension will take place from Nov. 14 to Nov. 17, 2023.