BC teacher fired for hitting Indigenous student with textbook

Mar 21 2023, 10:09 pm

A BC teacher was fired over her treatment of two Indigenous students — one of whom she hit with a textbook and a second whose arm she grabbed while confiscating their phone.

Deborah Laurie Croft was terminated from an unnamed BC school in June 2020, according to discipline documents posted online this week. Both transgressions occurred during the 2019/2020 school year.

In February 2020, a Grade 10 student in Croft’s social studies class was being disruptive, including slamming their book shut. Croft asked the student to leave, and as they were leaving she “took [the student’s] book and hit [the student] on the rear end with it.”

The student was visibly upset and reported feeling humiliated after the incident.

Just three months prior, in November 2019, Croft had gotten physical with another student. That student and a friend had wanted to stay in her classroom during their study break block, but Croft had to go to a meeting and needed them to vacate the classroom.

The students apparently refused to leave when asked, and Croft shut the blinds and locked the door so they couldn’t re-enter. Croft then pulled one of the students’ arms and grabbed their phone from their hands in an attempt to force them to leave.

In response to her behaviour, the Teachers Act commissioner suspended Croft’s teaching qualifications for two days and assigned her to complete a course on systemic racism in Canada. The commissioner said Croft failed to treat the students with dignity and respect, and skirted her responsibility to contribute to truth, reconciliation, and healing.

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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