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PEC Points: Council readies for ARA

March 19, 2019 Audrey Dutka, ATA News Staff

Highlights of the Provincial Executive Council meeting held Feb. 25–26, 2019, at Barnett House, in Edmonton

1.     Approved one recipient of the Public Education Award, which recognizes individuals or groups that have given outstanding support to public education in Alberta other than through teaching.

2.     Authorized staff to investigate and report back by the May meeting of Council the expenses and savings associated with installing solar panels on Barnett House.

3.     Approved the revised Standards for Writing and Classifying ATA Administrative and Education Policy for submission to the 2019 Annual Representative Assembly (ARA).

4.     Approved 16 Council resolutions and 44 local resolutions for presentation to the 2019 ARA. The package of resolutions will be sent to locals, which will be asked to vote on whether they agree with Council’s position on each resolution.

5.     Approved, for presentation to the 2019 ARA, resolutions to approve the Schedule and Process for the Periodic Review of Policies, the Disposition of Immediate Directives and the Proposal for Advancing Specialist Council Resolutions.

6.     Approved, for presentation to the 2019 ARA, a resolution to increase the 2019/20 proposed budget by $5,000 to provide for a subsidy to Summer Conference delegates whose attendance causes them to incur expenses for the care of an adult dependent. Approved an overexpenditure of $5,000 to provide this subsidy to 2019 Summer Conference delegates.

7.     Approved, for presentation to the 2019 ARA, a resolution urging the Government of Alberta to ensure that, if school jurisdictions are allowed to have one divisional health and safety committee under occupational health and safety (OHS) legislation, oversight measures are put in place to ensure that all workers can be meaningfully involved in OHS matters.

8.     Approved, for presentation to the 2019 ARA, a resolution that the Association host a women’s leadership symposium in the 2019/20 school year, with a proposed budget of $50,000, to promote gender equity and women’s participation in all aspects of employment and Association life.

9.     Received the report of a hearing committee that found a teacher guilty of two charges of unprofessional conduct. The first charge was for undermining the confidence of students in other teachers by speaking to students about the teacher’s conflict with another teacher. The second charge was for criticizing the professional competence or reputation of another teacher by speaking to parents about a personal conflict with a teacher and that teacher’s lack of support. For the first charge, the hearing committee imposed a penalty of a letter of severe reprimand and a $200 fine; for the second charge it imposed a letter of severe reprimand and a $300 fine.

10.     Received the report of a hearing committee that found a teacher guilty of five charges of unprofessional conduct for inappropriately touching five students on five different occasions, contrary to section 23(1) of the Teaching Profession Act. As a penalty, the hearing committee declared the teacher ineligible for membership in the ATA for two years and recommended to the minister of education that the teacher’s teaching certificate be suspended for two years. Encompassing all five charges, the penalty considered that

  • the teacher’s actions exploited the trust and innocence of multiple students,
  • the teacher’s actions caused long-term mental health impacts for a number of the victims,
  • the teacher had a fiduciary obligation to protect students and not exploit their vulnerability through the teacher-student relationship,
  • there was no evidence of a criminal investigation or conviction and
  • the hearing committee was unable to determine sexual intent.

11.     Received the report of a hearing committee that found a teacher guilty of eight charges of unprofessional conduct. Two of the charges stem from the teacher failing to treat students with dignity and respect or in a manner that is considerate of their circumstances — through actions, comments and treating students differently based on their academic abilities. The teacher was also found to have made critical comments about the professional performance and/or reputation of administrators and made statements about administrators using an approach, inaccurate content and language that were unbecoming of a professional teacher. Additionally, the teacher was found to have refused to address caregivers’ legitimate concerns about the treatment of their children in the teacher’s classroom and retaliated against caregivers for raising these concerns. Lastly, the teacher made false allegations against their principal without advising the principal and sent anonymous correspondence to the superintendent and/or trustees, in which the teacher made inflammatory and highly critical comments about the school administration and the school librarian.

Two of the charges resulted in a letter of severe reprimand. Each of the other charges resulted in the teacher being declared permanently ineligible for ATA membership and a recommendation to the education minister to cancel the teacher’s teaching certificate. Each charge also resulted in a fine, with all the fines totalling $32,500.

12.     Approved and chartered, effective Feb. 1, 2019, the Education Students’ Association of St. Mary’s University, Student Local No. 14, and approved its constitution.

13.     Ratified the memorandum of agreement on central terms for the Southern Francophone Education Region No. 4.

14.     Approved, in principle, entering into a memorandum of understanding with the Council for School Leadership, the Queensland Teachers’ Union and the New South Wales Teachers Federation to establish an exchange network on school leadership.

15.     Authorized Public Interest Alberta to request Association representation on the Government of Alberta Child Care Liaison Committee.

16.     Named six members of Council to two staff selection committees for the positions of executive staff officer, Teacher Welfare, and executive staff officer, Member Services/Government–Discipline, with both positions commencing service at mutually agreeable dates after June 1, 2019.

17.     Approved the development of an administrative guideline on flag and banner protocol to address requests to display flags and banners additional to the national, provincial, Treaty 6, Treaty 7, Treaty 8 and Métis flags. ❚

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