Red Deer Public Schools says it welcomes the Alberta Teachers’ Association disciplinary hearing for a teacher who has resigned after being charged for repeatedly humiliating his students in the classroom.
The hearing is being held to address the actions of Louis-Georges Pelletier, a French immersion teacher at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School.
He admitted to humiliating students, mocking them and doing such things as scrawling reminders on their foreheads and arms and demanding they stand on their desks or lose marks.
Pelletier pleaded guilty to one count of failing to treat students with respect and dignity, and one count of failing to maintain the honour of the profession.
He tendered his resignation effective immediately and Red Deer Public Schools accepted it.
"We all walk through life and we face different challenges and at some point we have to just step back and say this is what's occurred," says Board Chair Bev Manning. "I appreciate it when a teacher will stand up and take accountability for what they've done."
“Every one of our classrooms must be places where students know they are safe, cared for and respected every day they come to school,” Superintendent Stu Henry commented.
A formal investigation began after complaints about Pelletier were received in February of last year. However, Henry says the district has been dealing with issues involving Pelletier dating back to 1994.
"So often in cases like this when there were a few one-off cases over the years, the school would say they felt the issues were addressed at the time and things had improved," he notes. "The difference in this last year was just the volume of concerns that were raised all at the same time and really brought some issues to light."
When it comes to confirmed reports of Pelletier making homophobic comments in the classroom, Manning says "We were very proactive in coming forth with a policy on sexual orientation and gender identity. I'll also point out Lindsay Thurber has had the longest history in this province being very proactive in that regard. That is not part of the culture of that school."
The ATA began a formal investigation last March leading up to Monday’s start of their disciplinary hearing. Red Deer Public Schools awaits the results of the hearing.
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