The College investigates and considers complaints about members that relate to alleged professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity.
If the Investigation Committee concludes that a complaint does not relate to one of those three matters or is frivolous, vexatious or an abuse of process, it does not proceed with the complaint.
Approximately four out of five complaints are not referred to the Discipline Committee but are dismissed or resolved by other means. Examples of cases considered by the Investigation Committee and not referred to a hearing are provided here.
Complaint: Verbal abuse and failure to comply with special education
The parent of an eight-year-old child with Down Syndrome complained to the College about the student's classroom teacher who, it was alleged, shouted at the complainant's child and ordered the child to apologize to another student in the class. The complainant made a second allegation that the member failed to adhere to the child's Individual Education Plan (IEP) in respect to the student's special needs.
The complainant also alleged that the member failed to supervise the child, who had become lost when the child left the classroom unsupervised. The complainant had voiced a similar complaint to the district school board.
A panel of the Investigation Committee considered the complaints and directed that they should not be referred to either the Discipline or Fitness to Practise committees because the information provided by the complainant and collected through the investigation did not support the allegations. The panel also stated that the Identification Placement and Review Committee process, which oversees the development of IEPs, is the purview of the school and board.
Complaint: Physical and verbal abuse
A six-year-old student's parent complained to the College about alleged physical and verbal assaults on the child by the student's classroom teacher, who, it was alleged, called the child names such as “rabid dog” and referred to the child's drawing as “ugly.”
In addition, the parent alleged, the teacher had taken the child by the arm and pulled the child by the ear, in directing the child to the corner of the classroom by way of punishment.
The parent, who had complained to the member's employing school board, was dissatisfied because of the board's failure to provide details of the member's response or the steps it had taken with regard to the complaint.
An Investigation Committee panel considered the complaints, which it decided could relate to professional misconduct and directed that the member should be cautioned to avoid any physical contact with students, except in self-defence or in protection of a student or member of staff.
Complaint: Denial of student's basic rights and character assassination
The member, a supervisory officer, was the subject of a parental complaint about a 12-year-old student, who, it was alleged, had been denied basic rights “to retain and instruct [legal] counsel or to have a parent present while being detained.” The parent also alleged the student was denied the right to telephone a parent, the student was characterized as a “liar,” the member failed to make a report to the Children's Aid Society (CAS), participated in a cover-up and engaged in the “assassination of [the parent's] character” by serving a notice under the Trespass to Property Act.
In addition to complaining about the member, the parent also complained to the College about the child's teacher, vice-principal and principal.
The complaints were considered by a panel of the Investigation Committee, which directed that the matter not be investigated. With regard to the allegation of failure to report, the committee noted that when the matter was, in fact, reported to the CAS, it declined to take any action. The panel concluded that the other allegations did not relate to professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity and, in any event, were matters appropriately directed to the school board.
Complaint: Hostility towards student
A parent complained that a Grade 11 teacher had shown hostility towards the parent's child saying many times that the student was not wanted in the teacher's classroom, directing the student to “have your [parent] call me!” in response to a note from the parent, expressing annoyance at the parent for questioning the teacher's approach, refusing to grade late papers, and failing to respond to the parent's letter.
A panel of the Investigation Committee reviewed the complaint and directed that it not be investigated because none of the allegations related to professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity.