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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

What would you do?

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.

The College received a complaint regarding Samantha, a high school music teacher. It was alleged that she

Samantha denied throwing the ukulele across the classroom. She recalled that one day during class students were shouting and not paying attention. She removed a ukulele from a student’s hands, walked back to the front of the class and dropped the instrument on the floor.

Samantha said she did so to get the student’s attention, but regretted that she did not respond differently.

She then gave a warning to the student who was continuing to disturb the group by singing and shouting.

Because of the student’s disruptive behaviour, Samantha said that she may have told her to “stop being dumb.”

She denied that she forcefully pushed the student’s finger into the string of a ukulele. She explained that she used to place students’ fingers correctly on the strings as a part of her teaching practice, but that she had stopped after her school board raised concerns over this practice.

The board conducted an investigation and decided to discipline Samantha, who admitted that she now recognized the importance of using appropriate classroom management strategies to prevent this type of behaviour from escalating.

If you were a member of the Investigation Committee panel, what would you have issued to this teacher:

The Outcome

The Investigation Committee panel reviewed the parties’ submissions and noted contradictory information pertaining to the first allegation. With regard to the second allegation, the panel stated that calling the student “dumb” was disrespectful, and decided to admonish her in writing for these two actions.

The panel also noted that because Samantha had altered her teaching practice with regard to the placement of students’ fingers on the ukulele strings, there was no need to take further action regarding this allegation.