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.
In addition, the Investigation Committee can refuse to investigate a complaint if it is not related to a member’s possible misconduct, incompetence or incapacity. In this process, the committee considers the information provided by the complainant and decides if the complaint will be investigated by the College.
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 is and what is not appropriate. Details have been altered to respect confidentiality.
A Toronto school principal communicated to parents about a change in the afternoon pickup location for students who don’t take the bus to and from school.
Previously, the pickup area had been located in front of the school; however, because of congestion and safety concerns, the afternoon pickup area was moved to the back of the school.
This decision did not sit well with a parent, who complained to the College. The father alleged that the principal made the decision too quickly and without consulting the parent council. He claimed that the new location — a parking lot used jointly with another school — was unsafe for students because it was congested with school buses and parents from both schools picking up students on foot and in cars.
The complainant also felt that the new location was not easily accessible because parents who were driving were blocked in when in the parking lot. To avoid this, the complainant had to park far away, which was not practical because both his wife and mother, who picked up his son occasionally, have a disability. He also mentioned that there was only one accessible parking space for persons with a disability.
One day, to express his frustration, the father parked behind a school bus at the back of the school because there was no accessible parking space for persons with a disability available. That incident, he alleged, led to a phone call from a police officer, who instructed him not to park there again or he would be charged with trespassing. The parent also alleged that the principal threatened to have the board issue a Do Not Trespass order to the complainant and the complainant’s wife if either of them parked there again.
A parent meeting involving the principal, the trustee, the superintendent and other community members was eventually scheduled to discuss the safety issues regarding the new pickup location.
In summary, the parent’s complaint focused on the changes to pickup procedures resulting in increased student safety concerns and limited parking spaces for persons with a disability, lack of consultation with the parents and the threat of a Do Not Trespass order.
If you were a member of the Investigation Committee, what would you do? Do you think this complaint is related to a member’s possible misconduct, incompetence or incapacity?
The Investigation committee decided that the allegations made by the parent did not relate to professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity on the part of the member.
The committee stated that it is the principal’s responsibility, in consultation with the appropriate board personnel, to determine the procedures for safe student pickup and drop-off. The panel noted that the location did not change for the morning drop-off, however, the principal and board personnel felt it needed to change for the afternoon pickup to ensure student safety.
The committee pointed out that when concerns were raised by parents, a meeting was held to explain the rationale for the change. Although some parents were still not satisfied, the principal and the board decided that, for safety reasons, the new location would remain.
Further, the committee also noted that the mention of the Do Not Trespass order occurred after the parent consultation and was not inappropriate.
As a result of the committee’s determinations, the complaint was not investigated.