The Grade 9 English teacher would frequently use nicknames when addressing students, instead of their given names. (files)

B.C. teacher disciplined for classroom jokes

Nicknames and video game playing deemed inappropriate

  • May. 9, 2018 8:00 a.m.

A Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District teacher was suspended for three days last year for making jokes deemed inappropriate in class.

The B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation publicized a consent resolution agreement with educator Michael Sedlak and commissioner Howard Kushner, dated by the latter in April.

In May 2017, says the agreement, the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district made a report to the commissioner regarding Sedlak.

The agreement says, during the 2015-2016 school year, the Grade 9 English teacher would frequently use nicknames when addressing students, instead of their given names.

“As an example, Sedlak would often add ‘erator’ to the end of a student’s name so that the name ‘Bruce’ would become ‘Brucerator,’” says the agreement.

“After the class finished reading Farley Mowatt’s book Never Cry Wolf, Sedlak referred to male students in the class as ‘my moose’ and ‘my caribou’ and to female students as ‘my deer.’ Students reported feeling awkward and uncomfortable with Sedlak’s use of nicknames.”

When students asked to go to the washroom, Sedlak would ask them, “How much change do you have on you.”

“While Sedlak meant this as a joke and never took money from them, students described these comments as being ‘weird,’” says the agreement.

He would also play Clash of the Clans on his iPhone during silent reading time in full view of his students. He played for less than a minute on each occasion, says the agreement.

The school district issued Sedlak a letter of discipline and suspended him for three days without pay on May 24, 2017.

Three days later, the district made a report to the commissioner.

The district also required ongoing monitoring of the teacher, and that he work on a professional growth plan with school administrators.

The district had raised previous concerns about Sedlak, according to the agreement.

In February 2014, the district issued him a letter of expectation, indicating that it was incumbent upon him to interact with students in a manner that is not disrespectful, degrading, humiliating or embarrassing. He was directed to attend a workshop on maintaining professional boundries with students.

In May 2014, the district issued him a letter of warning and advised of the expectation to maintain professional boundaries.

In October 2015, he was suspended for a day and required to attend sessions on respecting boundaries and sensitivity training. The district also issued Sedlak a letter then, making it clear he needed to be more appropriate and professional when engaging with students.

Sedlak has agreed to a reprimand, will complete a course called “Reinforcing Respectful Professional Boundaries” through the Justice Institute.

Just Posted

Municipal spending outpaces population growth 4-fold in B.C.: report

Canadian Federation of Independent Business has released its annual operational spending report

B.C. parents leery of HPV cervical cancer vaccine

Provincial registration uptake among lowest in Canada

Yellowhead 4-H photography visits North Thompson Museum

The Yellowhead 4-H Club photography division was treated to a special opening… Continue reading

Chinook Cove golfers find it downright chilly on Ladies Night

By Leslie Stirling Fall was definitely in the air on Tuesday, Sept.… Continue reading

64 cats seized from ‘bad situation’ now in BC SPCA care

The surrender is part of an ongoing animal cruelty investigation with BC SPCA Special Constable

Young people need us to act on climate change, McKenna tells G7 ministers

Catherine McKenna led off the three-day Halifax gathering Wednesday

B.C. woman facing animal cruelty charges after emaciated dog seized

Kira, a Rottweiler, had kidney and bladder infections

Kim agrees to dismantle main nuke site if US takes steps too

Kim promised to accept international inspectors to monitor the closing of a key missile test site and launch pad and to visit Seoul soon.

Dozens speak at Vancouver hearing that could see duplexes replace single homes

The city clerk says 73 people signed up to speak at the hearing that began early Tuesday evening and adjourned hours later with 34 speakers still waiting.

North Carolina gov pleads with storm evacuees to be patient

The death toll rose to at least 37 in three states Tuesday, with 27 fatalities in North Carolina.

North and South Korea say they plan to bid for 2032 Olympics

Moon and Kim announced a sweeping set of agreements including a vow to work together to host the Summer Olympics in 2032.

Russia’s reinstatement after doping scandal goes to a vote

The World Anti-Doping Agency is due to vote Thursday Sept. 20, 2018, on possible reinstatement of Russia.

Ontario wins stay on ruling that struck down council-cutting plan

The province had argued the stay was necessary to eliminate uncertainty surrounding the Oct. 22 vote, and the Court of Appeal agreed.

Most Read