Governing Ourselves informs members of legal and regulatory matters affecting the profession. This section provides updates on licensing and qualification requirements, notification of Council resolutions and reports from various Council committees, including reports on accreditation and discipline matters.
The College’s Investigation Committee considers all complaints made to the College about its members and reviews all information resulting from investigations. The committee can dismiss a complaint or refer the matter, in whole or in part, to the Discipline or Fitness to Practise committees for a hearing.
The Investigation Committee may also caution or admonish the member in writing or in person, or provide written reminders or advice or ratify a Memorandum of Agreement reached through the complaint resolution process.
By law, cases under investigation are confidential. For the education of members, the following account, based on facts from real cases, raises important questions about teacher conduct such as what’s appropriate and what isn’t. Details have been altered to respect confidentiality.
For weeks a little girl complained about stomach aches. She fought. She screamed. She had to be pushed physically to enter her classroom.
So said her parents.
They complained to the child’s teacher, who they said wondered aloud if the child wasn’t “developmentally challenged.”
Unhappy with the teacher’s response, the parents complained to the school principal.
Again dissatisfied, this time with the principal’s reaction to their concerns, which they said were shared by several other parents, the parents turned to the Ontario College of Teachers.
They registered separate complaints against the teacher and the principal, and said the teacher inappropriately “labelled” their daughter and caused her distress by locking her and other children in a storage closet if they misbehaved.
The parents said the principal failed to show reasonable concern for the safety of the students in the teacher’s class. They said the principal didn’t provide support or counselling for the students affected by the teacher’s actions and that she, the principal, purposely kept information from them and others. They also said that the police confirmed their belief that misconduct had occurred.
College investigators amassed reports including notes and conversations with the complainants, the members, other parents, students, the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) and the police, which were provided to the Investigation Committee for consideration.
According to the data, the Investigation Committee panels learned that:
If you were a member of the Investigation Committee panels, what would you have decided?
Having reviewed the submissions of the parties and all relevant information available to the College, the independent panel of the Investigation Committee determined that there was no concern regarding student safety.
Parent claims regarding the use of the storage room for discipline could not be corroborated, nor were there any witnesses to the “labelling” allegation.
The panel was of the opinion that the principal followed proper school board procedures regarding the reinstatement of the teacher. No further action was taken in either matter.