Salt Spring Island teacher reprimanded for misconduct

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A Salt Spring Island middle school teacher has been reprimanded for failing to foster a positive classroom environment by singling out a special needs student, allowing students to use their phones during class and allowing students to leave school to go to the skateboard park.

Peri Michelle Lavender was teaching a Grade 8 class in 2016-2017 when a series of complaints were lodged against her, according to disciplinary documents published last week by the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation.

Lavender has admitted to losing control of her classroom and allowing students to use their iPads and phones for non-educational purposes, which was “disruptive to some students who wanted to learn,” according to an agreed statement of facts.

The teacher also allowed students to leave class to go to the skate park and failed to properly monitor the students who had left.

The disciplinary documents say a “disrespectful tone permeated the classroom” and students did not understand what was expected of them or when assignments were due.

In September 2016, Lavender distributed a questionnaire to her Grade 8 students, asking them about smoking, drug use, alcohol consumption and sexual practices. “Parents and students were concerned that the questions were not age-appropriate,” according to the consent resolution agreement.

In May 2017, Lavender told students she was not good at baseball, saying, “If I was on your team, I would make (Student B) look like a superstar.” Student B is a student with special needs, according to the documents.

Lavender admitted her behaviour constitutes professional misconduct and has agreed to complete a course on creating a positive learning environment or face suspension.