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Pitfalls and Precautions: Contractual obligations always in effect

March 8, 2016 Gaylene Schreiber, ATA Secretary to the 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 committee dealt with the following case during the 2015/16 school year. Three previous issues of the ATA News contained earlier instalments.

The Professional Conduct Committee heard a case regarding a teacher who left school without authorization on several occasions. In this particular case, the teacher left the school during instructional time as a response to decisions within the school or jurisdiction that he did not agree with. On one occasion, the teacher’s departure had the result that students were left unsupervised.

The Professional Conduct Committee found the member guilty of failing to fulfill his contractual obligations to the employer (Code of Professional Conduct Section 9) when he left his place of employment without proper permission. In its judgment, the committee noted, “Teachers are expected to honour their contractual agreements with their employers until explicitly released by mutual consent or according to law. By leaving without authorization, [the teacher] failed to uphold the Code of Professional Conduct.”

The committee further noted that this teacher had failed to meet his duty of care for students. Society and the profession expect teachers to honour their contractual agreements, especially when it comes to ensuring the care of students. As a penalty, the member received a letter of severe reprimand. ❚

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