A Langley high school teacher who lost his temper and physically intimidated a Grade 7 student at a basketball game has been issued a one-day suspension for professional misconduct.
A Nov. 19, 2020 consent resolution agreement released by the British Columbia Commissioner for Teacher Regulation described how, in 2016, the commissioner launched an investigation after being informed Donald Matthew Tupper had been charged with assault of a district student over a Feb. 15, 2016 incident.
A report by commissioner Howard Kushner described how Tupper became angry with the student’s behaviour, identified only as “Student A,” during a basketball game at Langley district school.
Tupper did not know the student, did not teach at the school and he was attending as a member of the public, not in his capacity as a teacher, the report noted.
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“As a joke, Student A yelled football terms such as “touchdown” when a team scored and “no touchdown!” when a team did not score. Student A was standing at the doorway when he did this and he yelled about four times.”
“Tupper was upset and angry about Student A’s conduct. He approached Student A aggressively in the hallway outside the gym, backing Student A up against the wall. Tupper came very close to Student A and had his hand right in front of Student A’s chest. Using a raised voice, Tupper told student A that he was rude and disrespectful, and he told student A ‘don’t do that again!” Tupper was visibly angry.”
“As this was happening, another teacher came down the hallway towards them. Tupper said to Student A “I’m not going to hurt you.” The teacher, who did not know Tupper, was concerned and intervened, saying “I’m a teacher here – can I help?” Tupper replied that he was a teacher too, then said it was “okay and that Student A had learned a “life lesson.”
“Student A was scared and intimidated by Tupper, who was much larger in size than Student A.”
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Tupper, who has been licensed to teach in B.C. since 1996, taught social studies, physical education and weight training.
On April 11, 2016, Tupper was charged with one count of assault. The charge was stayed on August 14, 2017, when Tupper entered into a peace bond that required him to “be of good behavior and not have contact with Student A or a student witness to the incident for a period of six months.”
Tupper took a 12-hour “core value and anger management course” in May of 2017.
In March of 2019, the school district suspended Tupper without pay for three weeks and transferred him to another school.
It wasn’t the first time Tupper had been disciplined.
In 2012, he was issued a written reprimand and warning letter after he yelled at a special needs student in front of students and staff, telling the student to “stop being stupid” and “stop being a baby.”
In 2014, Tupper was suspended for three days without pay for leaving his class unattended so he could accompany his children to school; telling a student who had forgotten their pencil “word to the effect that Tupper now needed counselling for depression as a result” and making “inappropriate and racist comments towards female students.”
Tupper agreed to a one-day suspension without pay for “professional misconduct and conduct unbecoming.”
While Tupper “failed to control his anger” and “physically intimidated a student” the report noted that he has undergone counselling and has already served a three-week suspension.
As part of the terms, Tupper agreed not to make any statement “which contradicts, disputes or calls into question” the terms of the agreement or the admissions made in it.
British Columbia Commissioner for Teacher Regulation oversees the discipline process for certified educators in B.C., reviews the conduct and competence of educators in B.C. and helps enforce the standards for educators.
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