Sex offender closer to getting teaching job back

A Nova Scotia teacher convicted of committing indecent acts is one step closer to getting his job back, along with back pay that could total $150,000.

Peter Speight was fired from his job as an elementary school teacher in New Germany in 2008. He had admitted to willfully engaging in indecent acts.

Police said Speight would call women over to his car and pretend to ask for directions while he masturbated. In each case the women fled and he did not pursue them. He was given a conditional discharge in 2009.

The school board fired him, but an arbitrator said that was too severe. Speight was instead suspended for one year. The school board challenged that decision in court, but a Supreme Court judge ruled the arbitrator did not make any errors in law and there was no reason to overturn the decision.

Speight cannot return to the classroom yet. The Department of Education revoked his teaching certificate over the incident. A seperate arbitrator ruled his certificate should be reinstated, but the department has filed for a judicial review of that decision.

Nancy Pynch Worthylake, superintendent at the South Shore Regional School Board, said they were disappointed with the ruling.

Speight cannot be reinstated until the decision about his certificate is finalized.

"Although the ruling is for us to reinstate him, he does have to have a teaching certificate before he could do that," Worthylake said.

If he does get it back and returns to teaching, the school must carry out "restorative justice" with the school community.

"That means working with our local restorative justice experts to bring together Mr. Speight, the parents, the community and the students to support his re-instation back into the school system," Worthylake said.

If the rulings continue to go in his favour, Speight will get his teaching certificate back, reclaim his job at the school and get 2.5 years in back pay worth about $150,000.

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