VICTORIA - The new agency that disciplines B.C. teachers has issued its first rulings, which include action against one teacher who surfed porn on a school computer and another who dragged a student by a hoodie and cut off his breathing for about three seconds.
The Teacher Regulation Branch was set up by the provincial government to replace the B.C. College of Teachers, which was criticized as being overly influenced by the B.C. Teachers Federation.
In one of its first rulings, the new agency handed Dale Andre Joseph Mailhiot a two-month suspension of his teaching certificate for using his school computer to check graphic adult websites.
The branch said in its report that Mailhiot was working as a high school teacher when, in February 2010, two student teaching assistants were recording student marks on his computer.
They "noticed highly inappropriate files of an adult sexual nature minimized on the screen," the report said.
"The district's Internet usage records for Mr. Mailhiot's computer indicated that, throughout that same day, Mr. Mailhiot regularly accessed various non-school-related websites, including social media, news sites and graphic adult material."
Maihiot's teaching certificate was revoked for two months on June 27, 2012.
In another decision on the same date, the branch suspended Lynna Darlene Schaldemose for two weeks after she admitted to professional misconduct.
The middle school teacher observed an 11-year-old male student talking with another student during a spelling bee at a school assembly.
The branch concluded that without warning, Schaldemose came up from behind and pulled the student by the back of his hooded sweatshirt and dragged him across the floor.
"This act drove the sweatshirt zipper into the student's throat, making it impossible for him to breathe for two or three seconds," the board said.
"The student had to push with his legs in an attempt not to choke, was red-faced and in pain after the incident and was left with a red mark on his throat."
The incident was reported to police and was later transferred to the Crown. Schaldemose completed required community service, underwent counselling and wrote a letter of apology to the student.
Dennis Craig Smith, who was an elementary school principal, lost his teaching certificate for at least five years after he admitted taking $29,000 from a principals' and vice principals' association, of which he was the treasurer, the branch report said.
Two other teachers were disciplined for hitting students and one was disciplined for turning a blind eye to an assault by one student on another.
Last October, the B.C. government introduced legislation to dissolve the B.C. College of Teachers and replace it with a 15-member B.C. Teachers' Council.
The revamped Teachers Act also included the formation of a Discipline and Professional Conduct Board to hear complaints made against teachers. The board is made up of three people, one of them a member of the teachers' union.
Previously, the teachers' union has held a majority on panels hearing disciplinary complaints.
The government will also appoint a commissioner who will receive complaint reports and conduct investigations.
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