A Surrey school teacher found guilty of professional misconduct has been suspended for two weeks for belittling and demeaning students.
The B.C. Teacher Regulation Branch has called out teacher Mykola Misiak for making a racist remark to a student he was coaching, for referring to students as “dumb ass” or “dumb idiot,” for publicly circulating confidential personal information about a student to other students, and for “behaving angrily” in the classroom by repeatedly dropping a VCR onto a floor and kicking a cupboard door.
A three-member disciplinary panel considered the teacher’s misconduct to be “relatively serious,” according to a reasons for decision document issued Feb. 28, following a hearing under the Teachers Act.
Misiak has been teaching for 15 years. He was also suspended by the School District for 30 days, after grieving through his union a two-month suspension, and was ordered by the district to take an anger management course and was relieved of his coaching duties for the rest of the school year.
The panel’s document says that while the teacher expressed remorse about making the unrevealed racist comment he also “tried to explain away or justify the comment.
“The Respondent said he made the remark because he was frustrated when the administration did nothing after he made a complaint about a coach who had not had a criminal records check,” the document states.
“With respect to the other problematic conduct, while he acknowleged it was inappropriate, he also claimed that students had lied and ‘provided misinformation’ to the District. This suggests that the Respondent is not willing to fully accept responsibility for his misconduct.”
The disciplinary panel described the “racist, derogatory remark” only as a “comment that has no place in our society and warrants condemnation in the strongest possible terms.”
The panel found Misiak created an “unsafe teaching environment” in his classroom by “losing control of his emotions” after taking a personal telephone call when he should have been teaching.
“He then left the classroom unattended,” the panel noted. “This type of misconduct runs contrary to the public’s expectation that teachers treat their students with respect and dignity and ensure their emotional and physical safety. The Respondent also failed to keep confidential a discussion he had with a student’s mother about the student. There was evidence that this misconduct left this student feeling humiliated and ostracized by other students.”
The Commissioner sought a one-month suspension but the panel thought that excessive considered the Surrey School District had already suspended Misiak for 30 days, for its part.
The panel found a two-week suspension, to be served during the 2017/2018 school year while school is in session, “would serve as a sufficient deterrent and at the same time satisfy the need to maintain the public’s confidence in the teacher discipline process.”
Misiak was also ordered to complete, at his own expense, a Justice Institute of British Columbia course on “Creating a Positive Learning Environment.”