(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

Martin Drakeley, North Cowichan’s manager of fire and bylaw services, says the municipality’s fire halls have responded to more fires than usual this spring. (File photo)
Dry weather, wind leads to more brushfires this spring in North Cowichan

‘Be safe. Be fire smart. Be situationally aware.’

This Earth Day, Cowichan Valley residents are being asked to clean up where they are. (File photo)
Cowichan ‘Clean Where You Are’ campaign starts on Earth Day

Take a bag, one glove, long tongs, and go pick up!

City of Duncan considering an average 3.51 per cent tax increase for 2021. (File photo)
Duncan considers average 3.51% tax increase for 2021

Homeowners would see a $43 increase over last year

North Cowichan councillor Kate Marsh. (File photo)
North Cowichan postpones decision on cell tower placement

But cell tower policy may be developed soon

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

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

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

A total of 10 flight exposures have affected the Victoria International Airport in April so far, making it the highest monthly total since the start of the pandemic. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hits record-breaking number of monthly COVID-19 flight exposures

As of April 21, 10 flight exposures reported for the month

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

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

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Most Read