An Ontario teacher has been handed a one-month suspension for an array of inappropriate behaviour, including attending board meetings under the influence of alcohol and encouraging two students to fight in the hallway.
According to a June 2019 ruling from the Ontario College of Teachers, Terry Ann M. Laforge has been found for “guilty of professional misconduct.”
The ruling lists a statement of uncontested facts dating back to 2010 where Laforge acted unprofessionally including calling students morons, made inappropriate statements to students about the principle’s sexual orientation, taking a student home for lunch without parental permission, and engaging in inappropriate electronic communication with students.
During the 2014-2015 school year, Laforge encouraged two students to engage in a physical fight as a means to deal with a conflict they were having.
She told them to “get this out of [their] system and go at it” and sent them into the hallway.
She also attended a 9 am meeting with board officials under the influence of alcohol and was placed on leave.
In September 2015, Laforge returned from leave. She provided false information to the principal about “the nature of criminal charges brought against her” claiming she got into a car accident and was charged with reckless driving.
“In fact, the member was charged with driving while impaired by alcohol,” reads the ruling.
In November 2015, Laforge pled guilty to operating a motor vehicle while impaired. She was given one year of probation and her license was also suspended for one year.
Later that month, Laforge attended a 9 am board meeting under the influence of alcohol for a second time. She was placed on leave once again.
She returned to work in February 2016 and her poor behaviour continued.
Laforge saw a student running in the hall and grabbed his shirt, causing him to fall to the ground.
On February 16, 2016, Laforge took a cab to work and made a “racist and offensive” comment to the cab driver saying words to the effect of “go back to your country.”
She was placed on leave from the board two days later.
LaForge pleaded no contest to the allegations of professional conduct made against her.
“She acknowledged and the committee accepts that the uncontested facts constitute conduct which is professional misconduct,” states the ruling.
“The committee is troubled that the member engaged in an ongoing pattern of inappropriate conduct, including making inappropriate comments to students, failing to maintain professional boundaries, encouraging pupils to fight, attending meetings while under the influence of alcohol, causing a student to fall to the ground, and making a racist comment to a taxi driver,” reads the ruling.
The committee says it “finds that a one-month suspension is reasonable and appropriate.”
“While the cases presented are factually distinct from this case, the misconduct represented in those cases is of a similar underlying nature and confirm that a suspension is justified. The suspension will serve as a specific deterrent to the member and a general deterrent to other members of the profession, making clear that the kind of misconduct the member exhibited is reprehensible.”