The Grade 9 English teacher would frequently use nicknames when addressing students, instead of their given names. (files)

B.C. teacher disciplined for classroom jokes

Nicknames and video game playing deemed inappropriate

  • May. 9, 2018 8:00 a.m.

A Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District teacher was suspended for three days last year for making jokes deemed inappropriate in class.

The B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation publicized a consent resolution agreement with educator Michael Sedlak and commissioner Howard Kushner, dated by the latter in April.

In May 2017, says the agreement, the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district made a report to the commissioner regarding Sedlak.

The agreement says, during the 2015-2016 school year, the Grade 9 English teacher would frequently use nicknames when addressing students, instead of their given names.

“As an example, Sedlak would often add ‘erator’ to the end of a student’s name so that the name ‘Bruce’ would become ‘Brucerator,’” says the agreement.

“After the class finished reading Farley Mowatt’s book Never Cry Wolf, Sedlak referred to male students in the class as ‘my moose’ and ‘my caribou’ and to female students as ‘my deer.’ Students reported feeling awkward and uncomfortable with Sedlak’s use of nicknames.”

When students asked to go to the washroom, Sedlak would ask them, “How much change do you have on you.”

“While Sedlak meant this as a joke and never took money from them, students described these comments as being ‘weird,’” says the agreement.

He would also play Clash of the Clans on his iPhone during silent reading time in full view of his students. He played for less than a minute on each occasion, says the agreement.

The school district issued Sedlak a letter of discipline and suspended him for three days without pay on May 24, 2017.

Three days later, the district made a report to the commissioner.

The district also required ongoing monitoring of the teacher, and that he work on a professional growth plan with school administrators.

The district had raised previous concerns about Sedlak, according to the agreement.

In February 2014, the district issued him a letter of expectation, indicating that it was incumbent upon him to interact with students in a manner that is not disrespectful, degrading, humiliating or embarrassing. He was directed to attend a workshop on maintaining professional boundries with students.

In May 2014, the district issued him a letter of warning and advised of the expectation to maintain professional boundaries.

In October 2015, he was suspended for a day and required to attend sessions on respecting boundaries and sensitivity training. The district also issued Sedlak a letter then, making it clear he needed to be more appropriate and professional when engaging with students.

Sedlak has agreed to a reprimand, will complete a course called “Reinforcing Respectful Professional Boundaries” through the Justice Institute.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Scouts in Langley learn how to communicate during emergencies

Weekend event at Camp McLean part of worldwide Jamboree On The Air and Jamboree On The Internet

Halloween on horseback

Langley riders club celebrates the season

ELECTION 18: Langley Township, you chose Jack Froese for mayor

Township voters went with a familiar face, handing incumbent a third term as mayor

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Harry and Meghan travel in different style on Australia tour

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are on day seven of their 16-day tour of Australia and the South Pacific.

AP Exclusive: Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair, thesis for sale

The online auction features 22 items from Hawking, including his doctoral thesis on the origins of the universe, with the sale scheduled for 31 October and 8 November.

In Khashoggi case: Saudi calls, ‘body double’ after killing

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called the son of Jamal Khashoggi, the kingdom announced early Monday, to express condolences for the death of the journalist killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul by officials that allegedly included a member of the royal’s entourage.

Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur waives right to preliminary hearing

Bruce McArthur, a 67-year-old self-employed landscaper, has been ordered to stand trial on eight counts of first-degree murder.

N.B. village faces backlash after council raises ‘straight flag’

Chipman Mayor Carson Atkinson says the flag met the village council’s criteria because it “recognizes, accepts and respects the rights of individuals under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

5 to start your day

Surrey’s new mayor has big promises to keep, a crash claims a life of Fraser Valley man

Canada Post strikes leaves small shops in the lurch as holidays approach: CFIB

Rotating strikes began in Victoria, Edmonton, Halifax and Windsor

Three strong earthquakes reported off Vancouver Island

The quakes, all measuring more than 6.0 on the richter scale, were about 260 kilometres west of Tofino

Most Read