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British Columbia teacher reprimanded for emotionally unsafe comments

British Columbia teacher reprimanded for emotionally unsafe comments
British Columbia teacher reprimanded for emotionally unsafe comments

According to the British Columbia Commissioner for Teacher Regulation, the teacher made inappropriate suggestions about two international students.

The British Columbia Commissioner for Teacher Regulation has reprimanded a Vancouver high school teacher and forced him to take a social justice course after he made comments to students that were deemed inappropriate.

In the fall of 2022, Bruce David Russell admitted three instances of professional misconduct arising from complaints, according to the June 24 ruling by Acting Commissioner Donnaree Nygard.

First, Russell raised his voice at a student and told him, in front of his fellow students, that he was not doing well in class.

Russell then made inappropriate comments to international students, such as when he told a student in Grade 9, “Put your head up, this is Canada, not the Philippines,” while the student had his head on his desk.

Russell also said to another international student from Asia, “You must be tired from singing karaoke all night.”

Another comment that was considered inappropriate was when Russell told his class that a Mexican student was absent “because (the student) is probably back in Mexico.”

Finally, Russell “addressed two female students in ninth grade as ‘honey’ and told the class that they had ‘blossomed.’ Russell stated that by the term ‘blossomed,’ he meant academically, but this was not made clear to the students in his class.”

The commissioner found that Russell “had not created an emotionally safe and positive learning environment for students”, despite having previously been confronted about similar behaviour.

“Russell did not exemplify the diversity, inclusion and respect for different values ​​that the district expects and promotes.”

Russell acknowledged the allegations, expressed remorse and agreed to take the Reinforcing Respectful Professional Boundaries course at the Justice Institute of BC.

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