News

Brentwood Elementary School teacher suspended

A teacher at Brentwood Elementary has been suspended for showing his Grade 4 class a sexually-suggestive video.

The teacher, Joe Winkler, was put on paid leave by the Saanich school district after superintendent Dr. Keven Elder deemed the content of the video inappropriate in regard to its content, curriculum expectations and whether it was age-appropriate. Elder said the district will review the case further following the Christmas break to determine if further disciplinary action is warranted.

"The video was shown to Grade 4 students," said Elder. "Based on parents' feedback, I reviewed it and determined that is was inappropriate."

The video shows men dressed as women and another man in a Speedo-style bathing suit, lip-synching to music on a beach. It's a four-minute clip and Elder said the teacher has stated it was shown to introduce the students to transgender issues.

The review, said Elder, will take place prior to Jan. 11 and involve interviews of the teacher, parents, students and school administration. While the content of the video was inappropriate in his option, Elder added he anticipates any disciplinary measures to be on the low scale.

The district has a policy on how it teaches LGBT issues to its students. Elder said instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity falls under Policy 6150 — which also speaks to the responsibility of teachers in providing curriculum resources that are age-appropriate and relevant. Elder said that Winkler was part of the team that developed this policy, one that also saw extensive community consultation at the time.

"We require and expect teachers to be doing that work in ways that follow the policy," Elder said.

He added parent's responses have been mixed. Some are saying no harm was done by the video, while the majority are more concerned and feel the review is necessary.

"We are working with parents to make sure their voices have been heard," said Elder.

A replacement teacher has been brought in to cover that Brentwood Elementary Grade 4 class until the review is complete.

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