(Black Press Media files)

(Black Press Media files)

B.C. teacher banned from teaching younger students after showing age-inappropriate movies

Teacher showed multiple inappropriate movies and failed to supervise students

A Prince George teacher has been suspended for one day and temporarily banned from teaching younger students after showing films that were not considered age appropriate.

The incidents are laid out in a B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation document posted Tuesday (April 6).

The documents state that Andrew Michael Dennis was teaching Grade 6/7 classes when the various incidents occurred. In September 2018, Dennis showed his students The Hobbit, which the documents state “was not curriculum related.”

Then, later that month, Dennis showed his students the movie To Kill a Mockingbird, that was neither curriculum related nor age appropriate, as it deals racism, racial slurs and sexual assault. The movie is considered an appropriate resource for students in Grade 10 and up, not Dennis’ Grade 6 and 7s.

In late September 2019, one of the students’ parents wrote to the principal to express concern about the number of movies the class had watched, especially To Kill a Mockingbird. The next day, Dennis told his class that he was meeting with the principal because someone had complained, as well as sharing a letter of expectation the district sent him. Because that student’s parent was a teacher, the class was able to figure out that it was they who had complained.

The school district sent Dennis another letter of direction about keeping confidential information private.

Despite having been told not to show age-inappropriate movies in class, Dennis still had his students read The Lottery, and then showed them a corresponding short film from YouTube. According to B.C. Teacher Regulation Branch documents, The Lottery tells the story of a small U.S. town that conducts an annual pagan ritual which includes sacrificing a community member by stoning to ensure a good harvest. Members of the community would draw pieces of paper out of a box, and the person who drew a paper with a dot on it would be stoned to death. The story is considered a Grade 11 and 12 resource.

Following the lesson on The Lottery, Dennis had his students play a dodgeball version of the story in P.E. class, based on the stoning scene.

“Specifically, students drew pieces of paper out of a hat and the students who drew a piece with a dot on it had dodgeballs thrown at them,” the document state.

The school district sent Dennis a letter of discipline about the incident and reminded him to follow the Grade 6 or 7 curriculum.

Then in October 2019, when Dennis was working as an on-call teacher at a different school, he did not stop two students who were wrestling, despite that schools “no touch” policy between students. Dennis had been aware of the policy but when another teacher came out to separate the students, Dennis said that the students were “just playing.”

The school district then issued Dennis a letter of direction about supervising students appropriately. This was not Dennis’ first incident of this sort; in February 2019, he had been issued a letter of expectation for not properly supervising kindergarten students.

Dennis admitted to the improper conduct, and was given a one-day suspension to be served April 6 and told to take the Creating a Positive Learning Environment course through the Justice Institute of British Columbia by the end of 2021. Dennis will also be prohibited from teacher Grades 1-7 until he has taken that course.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

EducationSchools

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C.’s 2021 budget is trending in the right direction to support farmers, says the BC Fruit Growers’ Association. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
BC Fruit Growers’ Association gives thumbs up to provincial budget

BCFGA general manager said budgetary investments put farming industry on a good trajectory for recovery

Vernon Vipers forward Tyler Carpendale (left) and Salmon Arm Silverbacks counterpart Noah Serdachny keep their eyes on the action during Vernon’s 5-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play win Tuesday, April 20, at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)
Vernon Vipers romp past Salmon Arm

Snakes score 5-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play victory Tuesday, April 20, at Kal Tire Place

Susan Martin and Peter Gook from Salmon Arm are the honorees in Vernon for the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s largest fundraiser, the IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s. People are encouraged to register, fundraise and walk throughout May 2021 to support the programs and services of the society. (Contributed)
Salmon Arm couple honoured in this year’s walk for Alzheimer’s

People are asked to participate to raise funds for the Alzheimer Society of B.C.

Members of the city’s environmental advisory committee and some city councillors would like to receive and provide input into an application for a groundwater licence in Salmon Arm for the purpose of bottling fresh water. (Lachlan Labere - Salmon Arm Observer)
Concerns raised over water licence application in Salmon Arm for bottling water

Neighbours want to know more, city councillor concerned about commercial use of public aquifers

Photo: pixabay.com
Morning Start: What does space smell like?

Your morning start for Wednesday, April 21, 2021

A lone traveler enters the Calgary Airport in Calgary, Alta., Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
VIDEO: Trudeau defends Canada’s travel restrictions as effective but open to doing more

Trudeau said quarantine hotels for international air travellers will continue until at least May 21

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson leaves the assembly with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Paid sick leave for ‘hard-hit’ workers left out of provincial budget: BCGEU

‘For recovery to be equitable it requires supports for workers, not just business,’ says union president Laird Cronk

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

Sheldon Pierre Louis’s winning mural design, “kʷu mr̓imstn, we are medicine.” (Facebook: Okanagan Nation Alliance)
Syilx artist selected as winner of Kelowna Gospel Mission’s mural project

Sheldon Pierre Louis was also awarded $10,000 for his winning submission, “kʷu mr̓imstn, we are medicine.”

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, center, is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson, left, looks on, after the verdicts were read at Chauvin’s trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Court TV via AP, Pool
George Floyd’s death was ‘wake-up call’ about systemic racism: Trudeau

Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all three charges against him

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Rowing Canada sanctions former head coach of B.C. varsity women’s team

Suspension of Barney Williams would be reversed if he complies with certain terms

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Most Read