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Gym equipment use leads to teacher suspension

A Langley Secondary School phys ed teacher was suspended without pay for borrowing school gym equipment for his fitness instructor business.

The incident was disclosed in a written decision released this month by the British Columbia Commissioner for Teacher Regulation, the new disciplinary body created by the provincial government.

It says Murray Charles Howes, an LSS teacher with 19 years experience, was suspended for two days without pay in April of last year for using school facilities and equipment to operate a for-profit fitness instruction service.

According to the “consent resolution agreement” posted online by the commissioner, Howe started running his “crossfit” program out of the school weight room in 2003.

When the Langley School District ordered Howes to pay rent for the gym starting in 2012, he moved the business, Campus Crossfit, to another location.

“As equipment for his new business had not yet arrived, Howes removed equipment that he needed for Campus Crossfit from the School’s weight room,” commissioner Bruce Preston wrote.

“He had no authorization to do so.”

The equipment included a “digital timer/clock, weight lifting bars and step-up boxes” which were later returned, with an apology, by Howes during an investigation by the school district.

Howes also posted an internet link to his business on the school website contrary to district policy, and did not remove it until he received notice of the investigation.

He had also failed to pay rent for one month of using the school gym, finally making payment after the notice was issued.

The consent agreement shows Howes was suspended for two days without pay over the gym equipment issue and the link on the school site.

In a separate matter, the commissioner reported that Howes was ordered suspended without pay for two weeks because he phoned in sick to attend a crossfit competition in June of last year as a judge, after he was denied leave to attend by the district. The suspension will take effect in September of this year.

In the four-page written decision, signed by Howes, he agreed that his conduct “constitutes professional misconduct” and accepts a reprimand.

Howes also agreed “not to make any statement orally or in writing which contradicts, disputes or calls into question the terms of this agreement or the admissions made in it.”

At press time, Howes had not responded to a Times email request for comment.

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