Teacher who slept in same hotel bed as student loses her licence
A teacher in eastern Ontario has lost her licence after pleading no contest to eight counts of professional misconduct including sexual abuse of a student. (Dids / Pxels)
Published Wednesday, August 21, 2019 9:31AM EDT
A high school teacher who had an "inappropriate personal relationship" with a student, including sexual contact, has had her licence revoked by Ontario's governing body for teachers.
The Ontario College of Teachers pulled Sheryl Anna Jean Fontaine's licence July 9 following a disciplinary hearing.
"As an educator, (Fontaine) took advantage of her position of trust and authority to make sexual advances to a student," the college's discipline committee wrote in its decision, which was recently published online.
"Revocation is the only penalty that appropriately responds to professional misconduct of this nature and gravity."
Fontaine was not in attendance for the hearing, but a lawyer was there on her behalf. As per an earlier agreement, Fontaine pleaded no contest to eight counts of professional misconduct, including sexual abuse of a student and psychological or emotional abuse of a student.
The college says the relationship between Fontaine and the student began in the 2014-15 school year. The student had been in Grade 9 one year earlier, with Fontaine as one of her teachers.
According to an uncontested statement of facts, Fontaine offered the student alcohol, encouraged her to spend lunch hours in her classrooms, and failed to properly report personal issues involving the student.
Things escalated when the two attended an event unrelated to school together. While the student's parents stayed in one hotel room, the college says, Fontaine and the student shared a bed in another.
"There was contact of an inappropriate and sexual nature," the statement of facts reads.
Additionally, the college reported that Fontaine sent the student text messages and communicated with her on Twitter in early 2015, after her principal had advised her to only contact the student for professional reasons.
"By failing to maintain appropriate boundaries, as well as touching (the student) in an inappropriate and sexual manner, (Fontaine) breached her obligations in the most serious manner," the disciplinary committee wrote.
Fontaine had been a teacher in good standing in Ontario since 1996, according to her profile on the college's website. At the time of her misconduct, she was employed by the Brockville, Ont.-based Upper Canada District School Board, which has since terminated her employment for just cause.