The disciplinary body that oversees B.C. teachers has left the door open for a former Vancouver Island teacher to return to the classroom after a sexual assault charge was stayed.
Darren William James worked as a First Nations support teacher at North Saanich Middle School from 1995 to 2012.
In August 2010, he was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl at the Duncan train station, according to a discipline decision by the B.C. Teachers' Regulation Branch. He made inappropriate comments to the teen, grabbed her arm and "stroked a gold chain she was wearing that hung down between her breasts."
The charge was dropped in 2011 after he agreed to enter into a peace bond. James did not tell his employer about the charge or the peace bond.
The school district found out about James' case and launched its own investigation. He admitted he had been drinking the day he was arrested but did not clearly remember what happened. However, James did not deny the "alcohol-fuelled" incident. He was suspended with pay.
That turned to a leave of absence without pay in March 2012, and he remains on medical leave. James let his teaching certificate lapse in November of that year.
"James does not currently have the capacity to carry out the professional responsibilities and duties of a teacher because of a disability," said the discipline decision.
However, James can apply for a teaching certificate again. It would be considered by the provincial director of certification against previous evidence, as well as medical evidence of successful treatment for his addiction issues, according to the regulation branch.
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