An Abbotsford principal who used his position to pursue intimate relationships with teaching assistants under his supervision has been suspended for four months.
Michael Edmund Ewert acted "unprofessionally and inappropriately" with three women between 2008 and 2011 at Colleen and Gordie Howe Middle School, said the B.C. Teachers Regulation Branch.
In 2008, Ewert developed a sexual relationship with a teaching assistant, and openly flirted with her in front of students and staff, according to a discipline decision posted this week. He used his position as principal to influence the woman's assignment to his school that autumn.
When he became aware of the assistant using drugs, he failed to notify the district or take any steps to ensure the safety of students in her care, other than emailing her that she couldn't drive them in her car, said the branch.
The next school year, Ewert again used his position of authority to woo a teaching assistant, often meeting her to discuss personal matters in his office with the blinds closed. These took place when the woman should have been working with vulnerable students with behavioural and mental health issues, noted the decision.
Ewert also sent her many intimate text messages during work hours and at night.
In 2010/11, Ewert pursued a third teaching assistant, taking her out for lunch during office hours, and also texting her late at night.
During the school district's investigation in 2011, Ewert was "not honest and candid," and denied having or pursuing the relationships. He also disobeyed directions to refrain from communicating with the three women about the probe.
Ewert resigned in February 2012.
The teacher regulation branch found that Ewert inappropriately diverted the time the assistants should have been spending with students, and failed to show appropriate social and professional boundaries to staff and students.
Ewert was suspended for four months and ordered to complete a boundaries course.
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