When the bully is a teacher, it’s even worse

If we ever needed more evidence that bullies come in all shapes and sizes, the story of Langley teacher Daniel Mark Ogloff provides it.

The metalwork teacher at Aldergrove Community Secondary School is in trouble for an incident in which he wrote “I’m gay” on a piece of masking tape and stuck it onto the back of an unsuspecting male Grade 11 student’s jacket.

Not satisfied with this juvenile prank, Ogloff “gestured ‘shh'” to other students in the class and allowed the student’s peers to laugh and take photos, according to the British Columbia Commissioner for Teacher Regulation consent resolution agreement documents.

According to the documents, Ogloff considered this “horseplay.” He even allowed the student to leave class with the tape still on his back, exposing him to ridicule from an even wider circle of people.

These actions are deeply concerning and inappropriate on a number of levels.

First, it’s sad that the identification of someone as gay is still considered by so many people – including a teacher in a position of authority – to be a slur.

We have no idea whether or not the student is gay. It really doesn’t matter. Ogloff and the laughing students clearly believe that being gay is something to be ashamed of, and something to invite ridicule.

This kind of bigotry has no place in Canada. It especially has no place in our classrooms.

Second, the fact that a person in a position of authority would bully a student is disturbing.

Depending on the psyche of the student in question, he could have done some real emotional and mental damage.

What are you to think when a teacher goes out of his way to humiliate you in front of your peers? We hope some counselling was provided, at the school’s cost, to the poor teen.

And consider the example Ogloff set for all those kids. Think about what he taught them with this incident.

He taught them it’s okay to bully. He taught them it’s okay to be homophobic.

And, importantly, he taught them that it’s open season on that particular student.

Ogloff has had his teaching certificate suspended for two weeks.

This is on top of discipline in November of 2013 where he was suspended from work without pay for 10 weeks. He was also required to participate in restorative action with the student, mandatory mentorship with another teacher and to complete some courses.

He disputed the appropriateness of the discipline. This fact seems to indicate he doesn’t understand the seriousness of what he did and that it was not only unprofessional but wrong.

He should really be thankful he still has a job, we’re not convinced he deserves it.