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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

Physical contact

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.

In 2014, the College received a complaint from a mother of a Grade 9 student regarding Betty, a high school teacher. The mother alleged that Betty, who was not her son’s teacher, kicked the boy in the foot while he was sitting on the floor of the school cafeteria and studying with a friend.

The incident left a mark on his foot and later resulted in bruising and swelling.

The mother alleged that Betty got a colleague to lie and say he saw nothing, and that the principal said Betty would be disciplined, but she was not.

The mother also stated that a year after the alleged incident, while Betty was supervising her son’s classroom, she inappropriately punished him by making him wash the desks.

Betty denied the allegations. The school board investigated but did not take any disciplinary action since it could not conclude that either incident occurred. Betty’s principal asked her not to have contact with the boy.

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

The outcome

The panel decided not to refer the matter to the Discipline Committee. Regarding the first allegation, the panel noted contradictory information pertaining to the alleged physical contact between Betty and the student.

However, the panel was concerned that there may have been some physical contact between Betty and the student, and reminded her to avoid any physical contact with students except in self-defence situations or to protect a student or staff member. The panel also advised her to avoid situations that could be interpreted as physical abuse.

Regarding the second allegation, the panel felt that there was no information to support it, and, therefore, took no further action.