Friday, November 20, 2015

Ontario College of Teachers Hearings -- December 2015

Three-member panels of the Discipline Committee conduct public hearings into cases of alleged incompetence or professional misconduct... Discipline Committee panels have ordered that summaries of these recent disciplinary cases be published in Professionally Speaking. Copies of the full decisions are available at

A Discipline Committee panel revoked the Certificate of Qualification and Registration of Andréane Hélène Cadieux, a former teacher at the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est, for engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a student... Cadieux entered into a sexual relationship with a student through webcam communication. She crossed the professional boundaries between students and teachers by having inappropriate conversations with students on Facebook and MSN (Hotmail), and exchanging emails and messages of a sexual nature.

A Discipline Committee panel revoked the teaching certificate of Limestone District School Board teacher Marc Claege related to a criminal conviction for sexually assaulting a student... Claege became the student’s mentor and confidant. Between October 2010 and April 2013, he regularly and systematically sexually abused the student. While the student was uncomfortable with Claege’s behaviour, he was afraid that if he did not allow Claege to touch him, he would lose him as his confidant. Claege was found guilty of sexual assault and sentenced to eight months in jail and placed on 18 months’ probation.

A Discipline Committee panel revoked the certificate of Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board teacher Charles Thomas Jennings related to a criminal conviction for sexually assaulting a female student... Jennings met the student on a class trip in March 2012 and they began texting one another and spending time together. During the 2011–12 and 2012–13 academic year, Jennings had an inappropriate personal relationship with her and engaged in sexual contact and inappropriate electronic communication. He was convicted of sexual assault and given a 90-day conditional sentence and 15 months’ probation.

A Discipline Committee panel suspended the certificate of Luc Bernard Lemieux, a teacher of the Conseil scolaire Viamonde, for sexual abuse... Starting in 2004 and over the next six school years, Lemieux made numerous remarks of a sexual nature toward several students including: “As long as they’re big enough for a handful and small enough for a mouthful” (while discussing a student’s breasts). “I know I’m not supposed to tell you that, but you look really gorgeous tonight.” “Don’t you love me?” “Do you have feelings for me?” “I love you.” “I would like to think a boy like me would have a chance with a girl like you.” In addition, his relationships with five students were overly familiar and exceeded the boundaries between teacher and student. He demonstrated favouritism by giving them gifts, such as silver necklaces, a stuffed bear holding a heart reading “Just say yes,” a bouquet of white roses and money. He was also lending students his debit card and cellphone, sending them numerous personal texts and emails, and inviting them to lunch during school hours. Lemieux also suggested to female students belonging to a team to wear only a sports bra during one practice and encouraged a student, in front of the class, to take off a sweater she was wearing under a see-through jacket. In the 2011–12 school year, he was reassigned to another school with the board, and there have been no other complaints or allegations of inappropriate conduct since then.

A Discipline Committee panel revoked the certificate of former teacher Norman Neil G. McLeod related to a criminal conviction for sexually abusing children... In the 1960s and 1970s, as a trusted member of the community, parents allowed McLeod to take their children to his cottage. While at the cottage, he would invite the children to enjoy recreational activities in exchange for performing and participating in a variety of sexual acts. In 1979, six complained to the local police and McLeod was arrested and charged with indecently assaulting six children. He pled guilty and was sentenced to six concurrent cutodial terms of three months, followed by three years of probation. His employment with the board was subsequently terminated. In 2011, a new victim came forward and the police conducted a second investigation, which resulted in six other victims coming forward. McLeod was found guilty of 14 counts of sexual abuse. He was sentenced to three years’ incarceration. College Counsel submitted that McLeod’s conduct was one of the most egregious cases of abuse brought before the College.

A Discipline Committee panel revoked the teaching certificate of Near North District School Board former teacher Carmel Rouhani for engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a female student... The panel heard that during the 2011–12 school year, Rouhani and her student began to communicate very frequently. During the summer of 2012, they had developed a personal relationship, which continued during the 2012–13 school year. They communicated electronically on a very frequent basis and met outside the school. One day, Rouhani — with the student’s mother’s consent — had the student for an overnight stay. Subsequently, the student’s mother became concerned about the relationship with Rouhani and the student’s father asked Rouhani to “wean herself off” his daughter as he believed his daughter was too attached to the member. Despite the parents’ warning and Rouhani’s assurance to cease the relationship, she continued the relationship with the student. On May 2013, the student’s mother alerted the Ontario Provincial Police and an investigation began. The investigation revealed that Rouhani and the student had exchanged about 35,000 text messages between June 2012 and March 2013. The police found that the messages transitioned from being a friendly conversation that one would expect between two teenage girls who cared for one another and who were devastated by the thought of not being able to speak, to messages of a nature that the police felt were an indication that the relationship was more than just friendship. The nature of the text messages became increasingly sexual and included comments such as, “The whole point of me getting into bed with u was to keep u warm.”

A Discipline Committee panel reprimanded Toronto District School Board teacher Paul Christopher Sabol for showing inappropriate material to his students in the context of an art lesson... On more than one occasion in 2007 and 2008, Sabol showed inappropriate material to his students. During one incident, he warned his students about the mature theme of numerous postcards he had on display in the classroom, in relation to an activity, and advised them that they did not have to participate if viewing the postcards made them uncomfortable. The Discipline Committee was concerned with Sabol’s inappropriate choice of teaching material and his failure to recognize that his teaching material should not include sensual, provocative or explicit nude images. Although Sabol believed that the inappropriate content served a pedagogical purpose, the committee finds that he exercised poor judgment and did not consider the sensitivity of young school children. In 2009, his board suspended him for 25 days without pay and directed him to complete professional counselling and coursework. He was also placed in an interim assignment at a new location for the remainder of the school year.

A Discipline Committee panel suspended Johanne Ste-Croix, a former teacher at the Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario, for engaging in an inappropriate personal relationship with a student... During the 2010–11 academic year, Ste-Croix regularly communicated with a student via email, text message and telephone. On numerous occasions, she met with him outside the school. The meetings consisted of having him sleep at her home and visiting him at his home. On one occasion, the student told his grandmother that Ste-Croix thought she was his girlfriend, but he did not want her as his girlfriend. The grandmother ultimately relayed this information and her own observations to the student’s parents. The parents reported the matter to the police. Ste-Croix was suspended by her board for three months.

A Discipline Committee panel suspended the certificate of College member Laura Rae Thompson for failing to maintain appropriate boundaries with a male student... On December 26, 2012, Thompson sent an email message to a student stating, among other things, that she wanted to be with him and that she loved him. She told him that he was “the most incredible person” and that she loved him “more than she has ever loved anything, and always will … forever.” The member admitted that she sent a nude picture of herself to a former student of the school upon his request. Thompson was suspended with pay in February 2013 and her employment was terminated early March 2013.

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