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Pitfalls and Precaution: Criminal conviction brings automatic ruling of unprofessional conduct

October 24, 2017 Gaylene Schreiber, Secretary to ATA Professional Conduct Committee

Pitfalls and Precautions is a series that aims to educate teachers on professional conduct issues by highlighting situations addressed by the ATA Professional Conduct Committee. The purpose of the series is purely educational, so some non-essential information from the actual case may be omitted or changed.

A teacher found guilty of two indictable offences for sexual interference and luring a child was convicted of unprofessional conduct as per the Teaching Profession Act. Section 41(2) of the act states that a teacher who is convicted of an indictable offence in the courts is automatically guilty of unprofessional conduct.

In its consideration of penalty, the Professional Conduct Committee determined that the teacher be removed from the profession to protect children and the profession, and to serve the public interest. The committee declared the teacher ineligible for membership in the Association, and the committee made a recommendation to the minister of education that the teacher have his teaching certificate cancelled.

In its reasons for the penalty, the committee noted, “This behaviour is a heinous and reprehensible betrayal of the trust placed in [the teacher] by the public, profession and children. Society expects teachers to refrain from sexual interference and luring of students. The teacher’s persistent and repeated sexual interference with [the student] was sustained and occurred both during and after school hours, and in a variety of locations, including the school. Through his actions, the teacher abused his position of trust, authority and responsibility.” ❚

Read more Pitfalls and Precautions articles here.

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