Airdrie-East MLA, Angela Pitt, released a report and spoke to DiscoverAridrie about The Alberta Legislature passing Bill 15, which is the Education (Reforming Teacher Profession Discipline) Amendment Act.
Pitt’s report states this legislation will see the creation of the Alberta Teaching Profession Commission and the appointment of an Arm’s-Length Commissioner to oversee conduct and competency complaints for all teachers as well as teacher leaders.
“The Alberta Teachers’ Association would have you believe that this is an attack on teachers and the education system as a whole. This surely is not the case and let me tell you why. Bringing teachers and teacher leaders alike under one reformed disciplinary structure will not only put the wellbeing of students at the heart of the disciplinary process, but it will elevate and protect the teaching profession by removing any perceived perception of conflict of interest.”
Pitt explains in her report that a situation that happened in Calgary plays a part as to why she feels this bill is necessary.
“A heartbreaking example of why we need this bill is the case of Michael Gregory. A grade 9 science teacher / sex offender at John Ware Junior High School in Calgary. This story just made national headlines last year when he was charged with 17 counts of sexual offence.”
Pitt says very few teachers go through the teacher discipline process. However, when this process does take place, it must be fair, effective, and transparent.
“In addition, Bill 15 would reinforce requirements for stakeholders in the education system such as the registrar, commissioner, ATA, CASS, and employers to report to police where there may have been serious harm or a threat to student safety. It would also expand an employer’s duty to notify the registrar when conduct-related employment action is taken against a teacher or teacher leader. These enhancements would minimize information gaps that could threaten student safety.”
Pitt says Bill 15 has, first and foremost, always been about the safety of students and putting their best interests at the heart of the teacher and teacher leader disciplinary process.
“The well-being of our students should always come first.”
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