A teacher at a Vancouver high school is serving a two-week suspension after an incident last year, in which he put a Grade 10 student in a headlock until she passed out.
The incident took place in May 2017, according to recently-posted online documents from the BC Commissioner for Teacher Regulation.
But it was on September 21, 2017 that the Vancouver School District (VSD) made a report to the Commissioner, regarding the incident and the teacher, who was identified as Weldon Cheung.
According to the documents, the student (identified as Student A) was part of Cheung’s Grade 10 physical education class.
“On May 30, 2017, Cheung told the class that he wanted to teach an elective course in self-defense,” acting commissioner Elena Miller wrote in the document. “Student A asked if he would be teaching people how to get out of a headlock.”
Cheung told the student that “if a man like him” put her in a headlock, she would not be able to get out. He then asked asked the student to stand up and proceeded to do just that.
“Student A described the hold as being so tight that she could not breather, causing her to struggle and panic and grab at Cheung’s forearms.”
Rather than letting the student go at this point, “Cheung held her tighter.”
Cheung then pulled Student A backwards “causing both of them to fall to the ground,” said Miller.
It was at this point, the report said, that the student lost consciousness.
She later reported feeling pain in her neck and shoulders.
Despite the student’s loss of conciousness and subsequent pain, the documents note that Cheung didn’t seek help from the school’s first aid attendant, didn’t tell the school administration what had happened, and didn’t notify the student’s parents.
Not the first incident
The headlock incident followed another incident earlier that same month, in which Cheung had told the same student to “demonstrate the proper technique for a curl-up.”
As she was demonstrating, Cheung approached the student and “hit her in the stomach several times saying something like ‘ if clients don’t do this right, this is what I do.”
The idea, he explained, is that if the exercise is “done properly, the muscles are flexed and the punching does not hurt.”
The student reported however, that she did feel pain and that the incident had left “bruises on her abdomen.”
Cheung was issued a letter of discipline as result of the incident and suspended for 10 days without pay.
It wasn’t Cheung’s first discipline letter, either.
Cheung had been given a similar letter in February of 2011, “after he had encouraged a student to continue with a weight training class by referring to unrelated and inappropriate hypothetical situations, using inappropriate language about the student’s relationship with her boyfriend, and referring to his own life and sexual relationships.”
Cheung signed a reprimand from the BCCT on December 15, 2017 and the suspension was brought into effect this month.