Nanaimo teacher fired after checking out inappropriate graphic novel to student

Nanaimo teacher fired after checking out inappropriate graphic novel to student
File photo.
A teacher has been fired in Nanaimo for purchasing and checking out

A Nanaimo teacher-librarian has been fired for checking out a graphic novel – that contained images of nudity, sex and drug use – to a Grade 8 student.

Matthew Lettington was fired on December 20, 2019, but the Consent Resolution Agreement was recently released on April 21, 2021, by the British Columbia Commissioner for Teacher Regulation.

Lettington and the Commissioner have agreed on the disciplinary actions.

As a teacher-librarian in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District, Lettington was in charge of selecting and buying books for the school’s library.

According to the report, on Nov. 30, 2017, he bought a book called, La Lesbienne Invisible for the school, which contained “images of nudity, sexual acts and drug use.”

When it arrived, Lettington discovered that it might not be suitable for the school library but instead of discarding it, he added it to a pile of books that he intended to review later. He did not start the review of this book until May of 2019.

On May 22, 2019, Lettington was absent because of an illness. On this day, a colleague placed La Lesbienne Invisible on the open library shelves.

According to the report, Lettington did not follow up with the books he had intended to review, including La Lesbienne Invisible, and it ended up in the school’s library circulation.

Nine days later, Lettington checked out the book to a Grade 8 student, whose parent complained to the principal about the content in the book.

On Dec. 20, 2019, School District 68 disciplined the teacher by firing him.

This was not the first time the teacher brought in “inappropriate” books for the school library.

A year before the purchase of La Lesbienne Invisible, Lettington ordered another graphic novel for the library on September 27, 2016, called My New York Diary.

More than a year later in January of 2018, a student’s parent had called the school, complaining about the book their child had taken out of the library.

“This graphic novel contains images of nudity, sexual acts, drug use and mature language,” reads the Commissioner’s report.

The school principal had a meeting with Lettington, who agreed the book was not suitable for the students in the school and may not be suitable for the school library.

This book was then removed from the school’s collection.

Lettington has been previously disciplined by the district for other reasons.

On March 2, 2009, Lettington was suspended for 20 days due to “inappropriate interactions and communications with students.”

He was then to complete a course on relationship and boundaries issues, says the report.

On June 27, 2016, the teacher was suspended for five days without pay and was told to avoid any “grooming” behaviour.

He was also told not to contact students electronically, other than his District email account and was not to speak with students under any aliases.

The District also informed him that he was not to take any photos of students and was prohibited from participating in any school clubs, teams or any other extra-curricular activities.

On October 3, 2017, Lettington admitted to making inappropriate comments to students and engaging in “non-sexual boundary violations.”

In regards to his termination in December of 2019, Lettington admits the facts regarding the graphic novels and agrees to the disciplinary actions.

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