Canada The Star has been investigating abuse in schools since 2001

18:21  01 december  2017
18:21  01 december  2017 Source:   Toronto Star

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The Star investigated abuse in schools in 2001 and 2011. Since the turn of the century, the Star has done two major investigations into abuse against students in Ontario classrooms.

Read more: The Star has been investigating abuse in schools since 2001 . The Star identified 27 cases heard by the Ontario College of Teachers, the provincial oversight and licensing body, between Jan.

Kerry Gillespie's story, right, examining teacher abuse is seen on the front page of the Star on June 3, 2001. Kevin Donovan's investigation that found the Ontario College of Teachers shielding bad teachers from public scrutiny, left, was published in the Star on Sept. 30, 2011.: Kerry Gillespie's story, right, examining teacher abuse is seen on the front page of the Star on June 3, 2001. © Provided by Toronto Star Kerry Gillespie's story, right, examining teacher abuse is seen on the front page of the Star on June 3, 2001.

A Star investigation published today probed a bureaucratic blind spot that allows teachers in Ontario to transfer schools after abusing students.

Since the turn of the century, the Star has done two major investigations into abuse against students in Ontario classrooms. In 2001, the Star’s Kerry Gillespie penned a three-part series examining teacher abuse after the Robins Report was released.

The report, commissioned by the provincial government, detailed the case of Kenneth DeLuca, who sent tremors through Sault St. Marie with a guilty plea for indecent and sexual assaults of 13 victims at five different schools.

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Read more:‘One wrong just creates another wrong’: How the quiet transfer of teachers over disciplinary issues has lead to patterns of abuse in schools

“Everybody says this doesn’t happen anymore,” Gillespie wrote.

“School boards won’t divulge how many teachers are investigated and disciplined for sexual misconduct; police don’t keep records of charges based on occupation; there is no central registry for cases that make it to court; and the teachers’ unions, which often provide lawyers to defend their members, say they don’t record the cases in a trackable way.”

The third story in the series involved a plan from Ontario’s education minister at the time, Janet Ecker, to strengthen the province’s rules on the sex abuse of students by teachers. The changes had been recommended after a provincial inquiry the previous year, and endorsed two months prior by the Ontario College of Teachers.

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The Star’s Kristin Rushowy and Harold Levy continued to report on the plan as it became legislation.

In 2011, the Star’s Kevin Donovan published an investigation that found the Ontario College of Teachers shielding bad teachers from public scrutiny.

“The watchdog — a self-regulatory body — granted them anonymity after the teacher pleaded guilty or “no contest” to certain allegations,” Donovan wrote.

Just before the Star published its results, the College quietly announced the hiring of retired judge Patrick LeSage to examine how teachers were disciplined, dubbed the LeSage review.

In the wake of the investigation, then-provincial Education Minister Laurel Broten announced sweeping changes to the ways in which the College deals with verbally, physically and sexually abusive teachers.

Teachers charged with sexual offences would now be ineligible for dispute resolution processes, and the full text of disciplinary decisions, most with names, would be published on the College’s website.

LeSage’s review eventually led to the Protecting Students Act, introduced first in 2013, but stalled by the provincial election and was tabled in 2016.

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Drugs like marijuana and illicit pills are seized at Winnipeg schools in every corner of the city, including elementary schools, says data the CBC obtained through an access to information request. Winnipeg police have made 86 drug seizures and laid 37 charges over the last five years for drug possession and trafficking. Seizures happened at suburban and inner-city high schools alike, at middle schools and in four elementary schools. "It's a citywide problem. It doesn't matter where you live. The more money you have, the more expensive drugs are going to get," said Patrol Sgt.

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