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Governing Ourselves

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.

Investigation Committee Case Study

Aftermath of a YouTube Posting

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.

A principal produced and posted a video on YouTube with disparaging comments about particular staff of the school, senior administration, parents and students. It contained multiple expletives and other inappropriate vocabulary that maligned their ethnicity and culture.

It was also alleged that the video — which was viewed by over 100 viewers — insulted the school board and its various practices and procedures.

The principal admitted the video was offensive, in poor taste, and that it demonstrated a serious error in judgment on his part. He indicated that he created the video to use humour to boost staff morale and had no malicious intent. He posted the video believing it was password protected.

The principal’s employer suspended him without pay for nearly two months. He successfully complied with the employer’s direction to complete two courses, at his own expense, on setting boundaries and on the College’s Professional Advisory — Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media.

The principal was required to read an apology to the entire school staff and senior administrators.

He was also required to enrol in counselling, which he did. During the counselling sessions, he presented himself in a very open and co-operative manner, and stated numerous times that he took full responsibility for his error in judgment, and that he had developed strategies to manage stress and prevent future impulsive decisions.

The Investigation Committee reviewed all the relevant information about the matter including the video, letters, emails, interviews with staff members, and correspondence from the member’s legal counsel.

If you were a member of the Investigation Committee, what would you do?

The Outcome

The committee decided not to refer the matter to the Discipline Committee. Members of the committee noted that the member clearly acknowledged that his actions were inappropriate and that the discipline measures imposed by the board were comprehensive.

They considered reminding the member of his responsibilities, but felt that it was not necessary given that he apologized to his staff and senior administrators, and was aware that he made a mistake that should not be repeated.