Teacher fired over touching complaints

·2 min read

The King’s School has fired a male teacher after conducting an investigation into allegations the longtime employee at the private Christian academy was touchy with teenagers.

“After a thorough and careful review of the findings of the investigation to date, and with the advice of our legal counsel, the board has decided to terminate the teacher’s employment, effective immediately,” Andrew Frank, chairman of the school board, wrote in an email.

Current and former students of the private academy told the Free Press this spring that a male employee had a reputation of making young women uncomfortable by putting his hands on their shoulders when he prayed for pupils and by hugging them.

The educator suggested being touchy-feely was how he “shows God’s love,” they said.

The private academy, which is partially funded by the provincial government, offers pre-school to Grade 12 programs in partnership with Gateway Church.

The students who came forward about their concerns alleged the teacher often overstepped boundaries by disclosing intimate secrets to teenagers and asking deeply personal questions in return — including the status of female students’ relationships with their fathers.

Administrators at the independent school confirmed they were first made aware about allegations of “inappropriate conduct” in early 2022 and immediately launched a probe into the matter.

Alumna Danielle McNab said she reported concerns about feeling uncomfortable around the educator in 2018. McNab said the school brushed off her report and thereby failed to protect her and other students.

Krista Gerbrandt, a former parent at the school, said she is pleased the teacher has been fired. “But I still think it’s too little, too late,” she said.

Gerbrandt said she wants the principal, who she claims allowed the teacher’s behaviour to persist, to be fired and assurance that the teacher who was terminated is barred from visiting school grounds.

In his email, the chairman of the private school board said the institution is committed to the care and needs of its current and former students.

The Winnipeg Police Service’s sex crimes unit has created a file regarding the matter.

“In consultation with the victim, the complaint was documented, but no charges have been laid at this time, and we are no longer investigating the matter,” Ally Siatecki, a spokeswoman for the WPS, said.

maggie.macintosh@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @macintoshmaggie

Maggie Macintosh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press