The Grade 9 English teacher would frequently use nicknames when addressing students, instead of their given names. (files)

B.C. teacher disciplined for classroom jokes

Nicknames and video game playing deemed inappropriate

  • May. 9, 2018 8:00 a.m.

A Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District teacher was suspended for three days last year for making jokes deemed inappropriate in class.

The B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation publicized a consent resolution agreement with educator Michael Sedlak and commissioner Howard Kushner, dated by the latter in April.

In May 2017, says the agreement, the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district made a report to the commissioner regarding Sedlak.

The agreement says, during the 2015-2016 school year, the Grade 9 English teacher would frequently use nicknames when addressing students, instead of their given names.

“As an example, Sedlak would often add ‘erator’ to the end of a student’s name so that the name ‘Bruce’ would become ‘Brucerator,’” says the agreement.

“After the class finished reading Farley Mowatt’s book Never Cry Wolf, Sedlak referred to male students in the class as ‘my moose’ and ‘my caribou’ and to female students as ‘my deer.’ Students reported feeling awkward and uncomfortable with Sedlak’s use of nicknames.”

When students asked to go to the washroom, Sedlak would ask them, “How much change do you have on you.”

“While Sedlak meant this as a joke and never took money from them, students described these comments as being ‘weird,’” says the agreement.

He would also play Clash of the Clans on his iPhone during silent reading time in full view of his students. He played for less than a minute on each occasion, says the agreement.

The school district issued Sedlak a letter of discipline and suspended him for three days without pay on May 24, 2017.

Three days later, the district made a report to the commissioner.

The district also required ongoing monitoring of the teacher, and that he work on a professional growth plan with school administrators.

The district had raised previous concerns about Sedlak, according to the agreement.

In February 2014, the district issued him a letter of expectation, indicating that it was incumbent upon him to interact with students in a manner that is not disrespectful, degrading, humiliating or embarrassing. He was directed to attend a workshop on maintaining professional boundries with students.

In May 2014, the district issued him a letter of warning and advised of the expectation to maintain professional boundaries.

In October 2015, he was suspended for a day and required to attend sessions on respecting boundaries and sensitivity training. The district also issued Sedlak a letter then, making it clear he needed to be more appropriate and professional when engaging with students.

Sedlak has agreed to a reprimand, will complete a course called “Reinforcing Respectful Professional Boundaries” through the Justice Institute.

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP searching for missing teen

Kishan Gopal, 15, was last seen at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 17, in the 1900-block of King George Boulevard

Surrey RCMP say teenager stabbed after ‘dispute’

Police say suspect and other youth fled the scene before officers arrived, near 147th Street and 83rd Avenue

UPDATE: Delta police called to alleged gunman incident at Delta Rise

Police searched the building for the suspect, but couldn’t find him

Surrey business groups dig in heels on LRT

Mayor-elect Doug McCallum and his coalition aim to cancel LRT in favour of extending SkyTrain

New faces on Surrey council: Who they are and how they got here

The council includes seven of eight candidates who ran with Doug McCallum-led Safe Surrey Coalition

B.C. sailor surprised by humpback whale playing under her boat

Jodi Klahm-Kozicki said the experience was ‘magical’ near Denman Island

Opioid crisis may be shortening British Columbians’ life expectancy: report

Canada among healthiest wealthy countries, but 8,000 overdose deaths since 2016 are causing concern

B.C. cold case helps ‘60 Minutes’ explain genetic genealogy

An arrest in the 1987 double-murder of two people from Victoria was one of three examples highlighted in a segment you can watch here

Delivery of cannabis could be impacted by postal strike

BC Liquor Distribution Branch look at alternative third-party delivery services

Around the BCHL: Chilliwack Chiefs snag spot in CJHL national rankings

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the BCHL and the junior A world.

Rural regions get priority for B.C. referendum mail-out

Ballot security measures aim to protect against voter fraud

B.C.’s natural gas supply could see 50% dip through winter due to pipeline blast

It’s been two weeks since the Enbridge pipeline ruptured near Prince George on Oct. 9, sparking a large fireball

Mega Millions, Powerball prizes come down to math, long odds

Biggest myth: The advertised $1.6 billion Mega Millions prize and $620 million Powerball prize aren’t quite real

2 Canadians advance to finals at world wrestling championships

Olympic champion Erica Wiebe just missed joining them with a loss 3-1 to three-time world champion Adeline Gray of the United States in the 76-kg event

Most Read