Friday, April 6, 2018

‘Culture of silence’ in education a roadblock to reporting colleagues

abuse accountability crime education pedophilia misconduct rape

Reporting colleagues’ misconduct can be an intimidating process in Ontario schools due to a “culture of silence,” education insiders say — though teachers still have a duty to report suspected abuse.

“The whole presumptive behaviour of ‘don’t snitch on your colleagues because it’ll come back to bite you’ is pretty much entrenched in the profession, and new teachers learn that very quickly,” said Monika Ferenczy, a former Ontario College of Teachers disciplinary committee member who adjudicated for about 20 hearings between 2012 and 2014.

The Ontario College of Teachers, a provincial oversight and licensing body, conducts dozens of investigations and disciplinary hearings each year after complaints are brought forward by administrators, teachers, and members of the public. The disciplinary committee can order penalties on teachers, including suspensions or coursework, or even take away their licence. In some cases, like having sex with a student, licence revocation is mandatory.

“If you report on another member, you better have pretty strong evidence,” said Ferenczy, who has since resigned from her position for what she called interference by her union and school board into her work. The college says that “reasonable grounds — information that an average person, using normal and honest judgement would need to decide — is reason enough to report.”  (more...)


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