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 who was attending a community sports event to observe and support some of his students committed unprofessional conduct when he made critical comments about the conduct of another teacher/coach to a parent who was also in attendance at the sporting event. The teacher’s critical statements impugned the reputation of his coaching colleague.
The hearing committee found the teacher guilty of failing to uphold section 13 of the Code of Professional Conduct in that he criticized the professional competence and professional reputation of another teacher to a person who was not a proper official and did not inform the other teacher of the criticism in advance. The teacher also contravened section 23(1)(c) of the Teaching Profession Act in that his conduct was detrimental to the best interests of the teaching profession when he criticized another teacher while talking with a member of the sports community.
The committee ordered a penalty of a letter of reprimand. In the decision, the committee noted the unprofessional conduct had the potential to negatively impact the maligned teacher’s reputation. The committee believed the letter would serve as a deterrent and promote confidence in the profession. ❚
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