Saturday, September 20, 2008

Former Charles Hays teacher terminated after School District invesgtigation

A Prince Rupert high school teacher who was arrested in 2007 on three counts of sexual exploitation of a young person, has been terminated from his position with School District 52.

The charges laid against Dana Allison Monteith are currently working their way through the province's legal system, but after an internal investigation by Superintendent of Schools Eric Mercer, the recommendation to the Board of Education was to terminate Mr. Monteith.

The Daily News provided a review of the School District investigation and the process involved that led to the termination decision of this past week.

Sex charge teacher is let go by the school district
By Kris Schumacher
The Daily News
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Pages one and two

At a special meeting of the Board of Education held on Monday, Prince Rupert School District 52 decided to discharge former Charles Hays Secondary School science teacher Dana Monteith from his employment with the district.

Dana Allison Monteith was arrested on three counts of sexual exploitation of a young person on Dec. 22, 2007, and appeared before a justice of the peace the following day.

He was later released on nine strict conditions, which include not having contact with any female person under the age of 18 at his residence; and not being in the company of any female person under 18 except in the company of an adult over 25 years.

The offences were alleged to have taken place between June 2005 and July 2007, and it is alleged that he used his position as a teacher to facilitate relationships with his victims, both current and former students. Superintendent of Schools Eric Mercer began an investigation into the allegations against Monteith shortly after the charges were laid, a process that ran parallel and in cooperation with the RCMP's criminal investigation. Monteith was initially suspended with pay, and after making a recommendation to the board, School District 52 trustees approved Mercer's recommendation to suspend Monteith without pay.

"The superintendent had since completed his investigation, and made the recommendation to the Board of Education to terminate Mr. Monteith, which the board decided to uphold at a special in-camera meeting," said Tina Last, chair of the School District 52 board.

"Trustees are fully informed to make that decision, so whatever the superintendent discovers in his investigation is what he provides us with to make that decision. Everyone in the room would have had to make themselves available at some point to access those reports prior to the meeting. The superintendent did a very thorough investigation and provided us with the information we needed to make the decision we made."

In cases of criminal allegations against employees, the Board of Education conducts their own investigation into the matter.

The board may conclude their own investigation and decide to terminate an employee even while the criminal case is still underway, because the British Columbia College of Teachers' Standards holds teachers to a higher standard of expectation than the law, both morally and ethically.

Last explained that the Board of Education does not require the allegations to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt as in criminal law, but rather only "believe that he engaged in the conduct of which he is accused."

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