Professionally SpeakingThe Magazine of the Ontario College of Teachers
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Governing Ourselves



Reports: Annual Report | Council Meeting | Appointments | Change in Evaluation | Investigations | Dispute Resolution | Hearings


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.

Case #1

Complaint: Physical disciplining of student
Outcome of investigation: Admonishment

Parents of a Grade 2 student complained to the College that an occasional teacher at their child's school had grabbed their child by the coat hood as the student lined up with others after recess, and yelled very aggressively, “Won't you stop talking?” – physically shaking the student.

The student reported the incident to another teacher, who took the student to the principal, who in turn removed the teacher from the classroom.

A panel of the Investigation Committee considered the complaint and admonished the member, and directed that the member's future conduct and behaviour should be appropriate and consistent with the standards of the teaching profession. The panel also advised the member to avoid physical contact with students, except in self-defence or in protection of a student or member of staff.

Case #2

Complaint: Unwarranted, unfair punishment of student and using “scare tactic”
Outcome of investigation: No investigation

Parents of a Grade 6 student complained about their child's teacher, who they said had “centred out [their child] for unwarranted punishment” and had “belittled” the student in a number of ways, including: not allowing the student to return to class to pick up a forgotten backpack; not allowing the student to go to the washroom; giving a detention for talking after their child said “excuse me” for bumping into another student; making the student stand by an outside wall as punishment; making the student redo an assignment, which the member could not find; sending the student to the hall after someone threw something at the teacher; etc.

The parents also alleged that the teacher used a “scare tactic” by having a lawyer write to them to cease and desist the false allegations being made against the member.

The Investigation Committee panel considering the complaint directed that the allegations not be investigated because they do not relate to professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity.

Case #3

Complaint: Failing to perform yard duty and to report a student punching incident
Outcome of investigation: Complaint dismissed

A parent of a Grade 7 student complained about an incident in which their child was bruised by a group of classmates administering “birthday beats,” by repeatedly punching the student's arm.

The parent claimed that the member was not on yard duty at the time and that, had the member been, the member would have seen the incident and intervened. The parent complained that the fact that the member had not reported the incident and injury to the principal was proof that the member had not been performing the yard duties assigned.

Following a full investigation, a panel of the Investigation Committee considered the complaint and dismissed it, because the information collected in the investigation did not support the allegations.

Case #4

Complaint: Humiliation of student, failing to prevent bullying and lying
Outcome of investigation: No investigation

A Grade 5 student's parents complained that their child's classroom teacher had humiliated the student in front of classmates by asking why the student couldn't understand a simple math exercise; by sending the student to the office for telling the truth about not having done assigned homework; and by threatening to withhold enrichment course work.

The parents also alleged that the teacher refused to address and correct repeated bullying by some classmates; that the member lied to them and the principal about having spoken to the student; and that at the year-end award ceremony, the member failed to present their child's award.

The matter was considered by a panel of the Investigation Committee, which directed that the complaint should not be investigated because three of the allegations, even if true, did not relate to professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity, and no information was provided with regard to the bullying allegation.