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 accounts, based on facts from real cases, raise important questions about teacher conduct, such as what is appropriate and what is not. Details have been altered to respect confidentiality.
In the following cases regarding the duty of student supervision, 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.
A school board reported to the College that a teacher had allowed high school students to be unsupervised. For example, she had left a note on her classroom door advising students to find an available computer in the school to finish their work. As a result, several students were found in hallways or the cafeteria.
When first questioned, the teacher responded that she was in her classroom, but, when further questioned, she explained that she had moved to the computer lab halfway through class. She believed she followed the established school protocol in allowing some students to access the library and resources room to use computers. She said that a number of staff members confirmed that she was present with her class on the day in question.
A father initiated a complaint after his six-year-old daughter with special needs left the school grounds and was found by police walking on a busy street. According to documents, a teacher was supervising a group of kindergarten students in the schoolyard. The students had been outside for about 45 minutes when he gathered them to return inside the school. He took a head count, realized that the student was missing, and notified the office.
The teacher recognized the seriousness of the incident and acknowledged that he did not take sufficient supervisory measures.
A school board notified the College that a teacher allegedly left a class of Grade 6 students unsupervised. During this unsupervised period, a student picked up a broom and chased another student around the classroom. As a result, one of the students fell and knocked over chairs, one of which struck a student’s hand, injuring it. The teacher said that she was briefly in the hall with a student who had wanted to show her a hamster he had brought to school.
A school board notified the College that a teacher allegedly left a class of Grade 6 students unsupervised. During this unsupervised period, a student picked up a broom and chased another student around the classroom. As a result, one of the students fell and knocked over chairs, one of which struck a student’s hand, injuring it. The teacher said that she was briefly in the hall with a student who had wanted to show her a hamster he had brought to school
A school board reported to the College a high school teacher who acknowledged failing to adequately supervise students during a school trip to Cuba. The board noted that she failed to perform nighttime supervision in a consistent, appropriate and vigilant manner.
The teacher also allowed students to consume alcohol in their rooms.
A school board notified the College that a high school Transportation Technology teacher was unaware that students had left the class and the school grounds because he was not taking attendance at the beginning of class. He also allowed students to operate machinery in an unsafe manner.
The teacher agreed with the concerns, adding that they were the result of the large class size and unclear information he received about the equipment.
If you were a member of the Investigation Committee, what would you have issued to these teachers to express your concern:
According to the committee, the teacher did not provide adequate or appropriate conditions for student safety and student learning at all times. The committee noted that allowing students to be unsupervised increased risk to student safety.
The allegation of failing to adequately supervise a young student with special needs caused concerns for the committee.
The committee was troubled that the teacher left the classroom unsupervised, resulting in a student sustaining an injury.
The committee was seriously concerned that the teacher failed to adequately supervise students during a trip to Cuba.
According to the committee, the teacher was not aware of his students’ whereabouts because he was not taking attendance. The committee was also concerned that the teacher did not ensure student safety when they were operating machinery. The committee added that it is the teacher’s responsibility to understand and follow all rules regarding safe operating procedures.