A Gulf Islands teacher has received a reprimand, Feb. 21, for his conduct towards a student with special educational needs.
Between September and November 2016, a series of events occurred involving Alan Stephen Berry that led to misconduct procedures being drawn up and School District 64 (Gulf Islands) writing a report about him to the Commissioner, under section 16 of the School Act.
Berry, who is believed to have been a teacher since 1976, was involved in a number of troubling incidents involving a pupil, referred to as Student A in the misconduct procedures.
These included interacting with the student not in a manner consistent with the District Psychologist’s recommendations, being dismissive of the student’s diagnoses and challenging the student’s parents about the cause of Student A’s behaviour in class. The report said he also made disparaging remarks about the student in their presence and told the vice principal he did not have time to use positive strategies when interacting with Student A.
In Aug. 2018, Berry completed the Justice Institute of B.C. course, Building Your Communication Toolbox and Feb. 21 2019, Berry entered into a consent resolution agreement with the Comissioner in which he agreed that his conduct had constituted professional misconduct and agreed to a reprimand.
The situation has raised questions about training and the range of educational issues teachers now have to be familiar with, in addition to their subject. Best Practice involves teachers differentiating their lessons to suit up to seven different learning styles per lesson and receive professional development training related to teaching students with a range of different special educational needs. Many schools also train their staff how to read Educational Psychologists reports. It is unclear whether Berry had ever received this training or did subsequently, in addition to going on the Building Your Communication Toolbox course. SD64 said they did not know what training Berry received in the past or has received subsequently. The B.C. Teacher Regulation Branch said they would not comment on individual cases.
Berry remains free to teach in B.C. classrooms.