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: Inappropriate personal interactions with student
The parent of a Grade 7 student complained to the College that the student's former vice-principal had attempted to personally assist the student at a time of great distress to the family and without the parent's knowledge or consent.
The parent's spouse was terminally ill at the time and subsequently passed away. The parent felt that the vice-principal engaged in personal contact with the student that was not related to school work, invited the student to talk during recesses, provided the student with the vice-principal's contact home and cell phone numbers, counselled the student who was “crying inconsolably” in the school washroom, provided the student with “ill-advised and counterproductive counselling,” offered to accommodate the student with the vice-principal's own family, if required, and engaged in a conversation with the student regarding the parent.
An Investigation Committee panel reviewed the information collected through the College's investigation and directed that the matter not be referred to a hearing. The panel concluded that the member did not act inappropriately or unprofessionally, but rather that the member's actions were compassionate and well intended.
Complaint: Supplying alcohol to minors
As it is required to do under the Ontario College of Teachers Act, a school board notified the College after one of its teachers was charged with the criminal offence of selling or supplying alcohol to a person under 19 years of age.
The police subsequently charged the member with three offences related to serving liquor to minors at the member's home. The board assigned the member to home duties with pay. The criminal charges were subsequently withdrawn.
The alleged offences related to providing alcohol to the member's 14- or 15-year-old child and two friends at a gathering at the member's home, following which the parent or parents of one of the friends complained to the authorities.
The member, who did not deny the allegations, responded that they are and were completely unrelated to the member's professional life as a teacher and, as such, did not involve a breach of the member's professional duties. The member claimed that the allegations were, therefore, outside the jurisdiction of the College.
A panel of the Investigation Committee decided that the member should be admonished for the conduct, and recommended that the member complete a course on professional and personal responsibilities.
Complaint: Verbal abuse of a student and parent
The parent of a student complained that a school vice-principal repeatedly verbally abused the student and the complainant on occasions, calling the student “stupid,” “freak,” “retarded,” and “worthless.”
The complaint also included allegations that the vice-principal engaged in stereotypical gay name-calling directed at the student, made belittling comments such as that the student would never amount to anything, accused the student of bringing drugs and alcohol to school, changed the student's EQAO Grade 12 literacy test result, lied to the complainant about the student's grades, yelled at the complainant over the telephone and suggested that the student was sexually confused.
A panel of the Investigation Committee considered the parental complaint and decided that the matter should not be referred to a hearing. The panel determined that, although some of the allegations, if proven true, would relate to professional misconduct, the information provided by the College's investigation did not support those allegations.
The panel found that, in respect of the remaining allegations, student witnesses interviewed did not support the complainant's version and that procedures were in place at the school that would make it impossible for a particular incident to have occurred.