A male school teacher has been suspended following several complaints from parents about inappropriate comments, verbally abusing students and showing up to class in a drunken state.
On Nov. 5 high school students raised the alarm, alleging that the teacher showed up to class drunk. One student hit the record button on his cellphone, which he kept hidden in a binder. The audio recording captured the voice of the teacher, who was rambling on about mating monkeys.
Kyuquot Elementary Secondary School is a small one with just over 50 students. That morning there were six students in the Grade 10 – 12 class present in the classroom.
Concerned parent Allison Vincent said the audio recorded was played for the school principal before it was shared on social media and then posted on YouTube.
“We find out that it’s not the first time he’s gone in smelling like alcohol or marijuana,” said Vincent. She describes the teacher as callous, with “a disgusting sense of humor”.
She has said that she and other family members have lodged complaints about the teacher over the past year.
“Last year my brother’s grandson was hit on the back of the head by that teacher,” said Vincent. She advised her brother to take the matter to the school trustee but doesn’t know if that was resolved. “I don’t know the outcome except that he wasn’t let go.”
Irene Joseph’s children attend KESS but are instructed by other teachers, including Joseph’s daughter.
“Regardless, it did impact her because she heard the video. The mention of her class hurt her,” said Joseph. She went to say that she, as a parent, works hard to build her children up, telling them they are capable and smart.
Joseph said her daughter was troubled by what she heard the teacher saying about her relatives attending other classes in the school.
“This incident not only impacted the class, it also impacted our community,” said Joseph, adding that she is grateful the school staff took immediate action. “I have faith that the right steps are being taken. This teacher is responsible for himself. His behavior is unacceptable.”
SD84 Superintendent Lawrence Tarasoff confirms that the matter is under investigation.
“I really can’t comment beyond the information in my letter to parents,” Tarasoff wrote to Ha-Shilth-Sa.
In the letter to KESS parents and guardians dated Nov. 6, Tarasoff indicates that he has been made aware of a very serious incident at the school and that parents are concerned for their children’s safety. As a result of the report, Tarasoff immediately suspended the teacher from duties for an indefinite time under Section 15.5 of the School Act.
“I can assure you that the indefinite suspension will remain in place pending a full investigation and due consideration of the results of that investigation by the full Board of Education,” Tarasoff wrote. He goes on to say that the children’s safety is important and he invites parents to contact him with their concerns.
In an update memo to parents, Principal Marty Szetela has arranged both cultural and emotional support for the students.
“We will be having a dialogue with students to allow us to hear how they have been affected to put us in a better position to support their needs,” he wrote.
The Nuu-chah-nulth Education Worker, Daisy Hanson, is working on plans for traditional healing ceremonies that may include brushing and counsellors are being brought in to assist the students. In addition, Brian Lucas, a Quu’asa Wellness Worker has flown into the village to assist.