Pitfalls and Precautions is a series that aims to educate teachers on professional conduct issues by highlighting situations addressed by the ATA Professional Conduct Committee. The purpose of the series is purely educational, so some non-essential information from the actual case may be omitted or changed.
A teacher was charged and found guilty of failing to uphold the honour and dignity of the profession after she submitted more than 100 false claims to her health benefit provider over a period of several years, during which she collected almost $4,000 in ill-gotten gains. The benefit provider discovered the discrepancies during an audit.
After offering numerous excuses and possible reasons for the discrepancies, the teacher ultimately pled guilty and made full restitution for the false claims. The hearing committee of the Professional Conduct Committee ordered a letter of severe reprimand and a fine of $2,000 to address the conduct.
In its decision, the committee considered that the teacher had repaid the benefit provider and had found it necessary to resign her employment as a direct result of her actions. The committee wrote, “[this] conduct was serious, sustained and repeated and necessitates a severe penalty… . The penalty reflects the profession’s condemnation of [the teacher’s] reprehensible and unprofessional conduct.” ❚