A teacher-librarian in Nanaimo was fired for checking out, to a student, a graphic novel that contained images of nudity, sex and drug use.
Matthew Lettington was fired in December 2019, but a consent resolution agreement wasn’t published until Wednesday, April 21, by the B.C. government. The discipline was agreed upon March 31 by Lettington and the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation.
Lettington, as teacher-librarian, was responsible for selecting and purchasing books for the library at a high school in School District 68.
A parent had complained about the graphic novel My New York Diary in 2018, and the school principal met with Lettington, who “agreed the book was not suitable for all students in the school.” Prior to that, in 2017, he had purchased the graphic novel La Lesbienne Invisible and set it on a pile of books to be reviewed for their suitability. In 2019, one of Lettington’s colleagues “inadvertently” placed La Lesbienne Invisible on the library shelves and Lettington checked it out to a Grade 8 student, whose parent complained to the school principal. Seven months later, the school district fired Lettington.
The B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation reprimanded Lettington, saying he “failed to exercise the due care and attention expected of an educator.”
Lettington had been disciplined and suspended by the school district on two prior occasions and had previously admitted to engaging in professional misconduct including “inappropriate interactions and communications with students” and “making inappropriate comments to students and engaging in non-sexual boundary violations.”