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 is appropriate and what is not. Details have been altered to respect confidentiality.
This incident involves two individuals from a small town near Windsor who had been in a romantic relationship. Martine is a high school teacher who is active on different social media platforms. A few months after their breakup, Marc complained to the College that Martine had posted inappropriate content on different social media sites, including a blog, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Specifically, Marc alleged that Martine posted inappropriate pictures of herself and misleading depictions of past events that reflected negatively on Marc, and commented about sexual activities and alcohol consumption.
Martine said that the complaint was personal and not professional in nature. She explained that Marc followed her on various social media sites and misinterpreted what she posted as personal attacks on him.
Marc responded that he was easily identifiable through the comments Martine posted because they live in a small community and that several people had told him about the posts.
Martine’s school board found that the contents of the social media sites did not require any disciplinary action.
If you were a member of the Investigation Committee, what would you do? Would you escalate this case to a disciplinary hearing?
The panel decided not to refer the matter to the Discipline Committee because:
Despite these reasons, the panel remained concerned about the potential for the information Martine posted to be disseminated and published on other social media sites, and about the access students and colleagues would have to such information.
The panel, therefore, issued a reminder to Martine that she should consider the risks associated with posting on social media and that teachers are role models in our society.
A reminder is a way to communicate the concerns of the Investigation Committee and is not disciplinary in nature.
If you are active on social media, check out the College’s professional advisory Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media (oct-oeeo.ca/kvkxdb) for advice on the use of technology. You can also watch our popular video at oct-oeeo.ca/34yb3n.