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B.C. teacher who hit Indigenous student with book to take anti-racism course

The student was "visibly upset and reported feeling humiliated afterward."
A teacher who hit an Indigenous student with a book must take anti-racism education.

A B.C. independent school teacher found to have treated Indigenous students disrespectfully has had her licence suspended for two days and has been told to complete an anti-racism course.

That’s on top of Deborah Laurie Croft having been fired from her job in 2020, B.C.’s commissioner for teacher regulation Howard Kushner said in a newly released consent agreement signed in Chilliwack on March 6.

“Croft failed to treat students with dignity and respect,” Kushner said. “Croft acted in a manner inconsistent with an educator’s responsibility to contribute to truth, reconciliation and healing.”

Kushner said in November 2020, a student and a friend went to Croft’s homeroom to check their phones on a study break. As Croft had to attend a meeting she needed them out of the room.

When the two refused to leave, she shut the blinds and locked the door from the inside so other students could not enter. She then grabbed the student’s arm and grabbed their phone in an attempt to get them to leave.

In February 2020, Kushner said, an Indigenous student in Croft’s Grade 10 Social Studies class was being disruptive. When Croft asked the student to leave the room, the teacher hit the student on their rear end with a book as they left.

“Student B was visibly upset and reported feeling humiliated afterward,” Kushner said.

Croft was fired in June 2020. 

Kushner said Croft admitted the facts and agreed her actions constituted professional misconduct.

In addition to the suspension, Kushner said Croft must complete the Systemic Racism in Canada in Partnership with Dr. Carl James, offered by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation.

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