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Teacher who caused high school fire suspended

Disciplinary action is one of four released by B.C. commissioner for teacher regulation

B.C.’s commissioner for teacher regulation has suspended for three days an Okanagan high school science teacher whose lab experiment wound up causing $59,665 in fire damage.

Commissioner Howard Kushner found Allen David Penner in February 2018 had made a chemical volcano to demonstrate a process for a class. Kushner said Penner did so without eye safety gear or a lab coat and without ventilation, exposing himself and students to chemicals.

When the demonstration was complete, Penner put the residue in a garbage can, which later caught fire.

The Central Okanagan School District suspended Penner for 10 days and transferred him to a different school district.

The May 27 decision is one of four released June 16.

The same district had suspended teacher Justin Daniel Moses Enns for five days after he had, in the 2018-19 school year, shown Grade 8 students two videos Kushner said were age-inappropriate.

“The first was a clip from the show, “Last Week with John Oliver,” in which security passwords were discussed. John Oliver suggested that “admiralalonzoghostpenis420YOLO” and “margaretthatcheris100%SEXY” would be strong passwords,” Kushner said. “The second was a clip from South Park where an animated character was so engrossed in playing video games that he had his mother bring him a pot in which to defecate so that he would not have to interrupt his game.”

In a May 22 decision Kushner said Enns had also asked a student if he or she had attention deficit disorder, and removed the South Park clips from an email exchange with a parent that he had forwarded to a principal.

Enns had already been warned in 2017 about inappropriate interactions with students and parents and in 2016, received a letter of expectation that he was to “exercise judgment and sensitivity in monitoring the appropriateness of all subject matter to ensure [his] classroom is a racism-free and discrimination-free environment.”

Kushner added a further, three-day suspension.

The commissioner found Delta elementary teacher Einer Teng had, in the 2018-19 school year, grabbed students by the wrist and pulled them toward class, pushed one toward an instrument in a music class, pulled another who would not move to another part of a room and grabbed another for “acting silly in class,” Kushner said in issuing Teng a reprimand in a May 29 decision.

Kushner said Kamloops-Thompson School District counsellor Ladd Louis Maloski in the 2018-19 school year sent parents texts that were suggestive and inappropriate.

“The messages caused the parents to feel uncomfortable,” Kushner said.

District officials in September 2018 told Maloski the texts were unprofessional. But, Kushner said, Maloski sent another parent inappropriate texts in June 2019 after which he was suspended for 18 days, removed from his position as counsellor and placed on the district’s teacher on call list.

Kushner added a further one-day suspension.


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