TORONTO - Ontario’s College of Teachers says that under a proposed law, a teacher who marries a student would be exempt from allegations of sexual misconduct in cases where the relationship began when the pupil was younger than 18.
The college raised the concerns in a letter to Education Minister Mitzie Hunter on Wednesday. They called on her to address weaknesses in Bill 37, legislation aimed at beefing up laws to protect students from sexual abuse.
The college, which oversees teacher discipline, says that in some cases, the law actually rolls back a number of important oversight rules — including statutes that govern allegations of abuse against teachers who marry their students.
A spousal definition in the new law creates an exemption that could see a teacher avoid discipline under some circumstances, college registrar Michael Salvatori said.
“Our view is that a teacher is in a position of trust and authority over a student,” he said. “If at the time of the allegations they’re unmarried, that would be abuse or conduct unbecoming. The insertion of a spousal exemption without any limitations saying when the marital relationship started would allow someone to be exempt if they later married the individual.” (more...)
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