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 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.
In the following cases, the matters were investigated by the Investigation Committee but not referred to a disciplinary hearing as a hearing was not deemed to be the appropriate outcome.
To express its concerns, the Investigation Committee can issue an admonishment, a caution, advice or a reminder to teachers who are the subject of complaints, or can choose to take no action at all.
In 2011, the College received a letter from a school board indicating that a student had seen a teacher’s photograph on her Facebook page. The teacher could be seen lying on a bed with her partner. The individuals donned minimal to no clothing from the waist up. A second student had also seen additional photographs of the teacher in sexually suggestive poses on the Facebook page of a professional photographer.
The teacher explained she had hired a photographer to do a photo shoot to celebrate Valentine’s Day with her partner. The teacher gave the photographer a Facebook password to a personal account and asked him to post a non-suggestive photo from the shoot onto her Facebook page, which he did. The photographer mistakenly posted the entire photo album on his own Facebook page, which included suggestive photos.
The teacher acknowledged that it was not prudent to give the Facebook password to the photographer.
A father filed a complaint about a teacher who had posted photographs of his daughter on a publicly accessible website, contrary to his written directions. The father stated that his child was at risk of kidnapping and, for safety concerns, he had not given permission to the school to photograph his child.
The teacher acknowledged that the posting of the photo on his class website, which could be accessed by the public, was a significant lapse of judgment.
In 2014, the parents of a student complained to the College about a teacher who had accidently sent them an email containing personal opinions about the parents’ parenting skills. The email was intended for the school principal, who later apologized to the parents and offered to have the teacher apologize to them in person or in writing.
The teacher acknowledged that he should have been more careful to ensure that his email was sent only to its intended recipients.
In 2014, the College received a letter from a school board about a teacher who had posted personal, inappropriate sexual messages on her Twitter account. The posts were discovered by students and were reported to a parent.
The teacher was embarrassed and remorseful about the circumstances leading to the complaint as she assumed that this was a private account.
Case 1: Caution
The allegations regarding posting, or allowing posting, of inappropriate photographs on Facebook caused concerns for the committee. They encouraged the teacher to become familiar with the College’s Professional Advisory — Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media.
Case 2: Admonishment
The committee noted that the teacher admitted and regretted posting the photographs on the publicly accessible website. The committee shared the concerns of the complainant and directed the teacher to ensure the safety of students at all times, and to use technology in an appropriate manner.
Case 3: Reminder
The committee noted that the teacher acknowledged that he should have been more careful to ensure that his email was sent only to the intended recipients. The committee reminded the teacher to communicate with parents in an appropriate manner.
Case 4: Caution
The committee noted the teacher’s acknowledgment of placing inappropriate comments on her Twitter account and her feelings of embarrassment and remorse. They reminded her to uphold the distinction between the professional and the private life of a teacher. They referred her to the College’s Professional Advisory — Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media.