Watch Out For Violent Viewings: A Teacher Is Fired For Showing Disturbing Video

Author:Ms Geneviève Lay
Profession:Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP
 
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A Montreal high-school teacher was fired last Thursday, June 14th, after showing his class the violent crime committed and filmed by Luka Magnotta,  which had leaked onto the internet. On June 4th, the teacher, who worked at Cavelier-de-Lasalle high-school, was urged by his grade-ten students to show the video. After holding a class vote, which was unanimously in favour of watching it, he showed the video and subsequently engaged the class in a one-hour discussion. Once the vice-principal was informed later that day of what had transpired, the teacher was immediately suspended with pay.

La Commission Scolaire Marguerite Bourgeoys (CSMB) engaged in a thorough investigation, taking into account the seriousness of the action, the impact on the students involved, the human factor, as well as the standards mandated by the teachers' collective agreements. According to article 5-7.02 of the collective bargaining agreement between the teachers' union and the school board,

"a teacher's contract may only be resiliated for one or more of the following reasons: incapacity, negligence in performing their duties, insubordination, misconduct or immorality".

In the case at hand, the CSMB felt that the teacher's actions were inappropriate and offensive, meriting dismissal. 

Now it is up to the teacher and the union to decide whether to file for grievance. It seems that the students would likely support such a decision based on their actions over the course of the past week. Last Thursday, fifteen students took part in a demonstration in an effort to moderate the severity of the punishment and show their support for the teacher. As well, a Facebook page was created for him.

The CSMB's decision raises an interesting debate: in light of...

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