Montreal high-school teacher was fired last Thursday, June
14th, after showing his class the violent crime
committed and filmed by Luka Magnotta, which had
leaked onto the internet. On June 4th, the teacher, who
worked at Cavelier-de-Lasalle high-school, was urged by his
grade-ten students to show the video. After holding a class vote,
which was unanimously in favour of watching it, he showed the video
and subsequently engaged the class in a one-hour discussion. Once
the vice-principal was informed later that day of what had
transpired, the teacher was immediately suspended with pay.
La Commission Scolaire Marguerite Bourgeoys (CSMB) engaged in a
thorough investigation, taking into account the seriousness of the
action, the impact on the students involved, the human factor, as
well as the standards mandated by the teachers' collective
agreements. According to article
5-7.02 of the collective bargaining agreement between the
teachers' union and the school board,
"a teacher's contract may only be resiliated for one or
more of the following reasons: incapacity, negligence in performing
their duties, insubordination, misconduct or immorality".
In the case at hand, the CSMB felt that the teacher's
actions were inappropriate and offensive, meriting
Now it is up to the teacher and the union to decide whether to
file for grievance. It seems that the students would likely support
such a decision based on their actions over the course of the past
week. Last Thursday, fifteen students took part in a demonstration
in an effort to moderate the severity of the punishment and show
their support for the teacher. As well, a Facebook page was created
The CSMB's decision raises an interesting debate: in light
of the easy accessibility of the video, should a teacher be
dismissed for showing a video that his students would nonetheless
watch at home?
Montreal Police Department claimed that it is possible for the
teacher to face legal consequences for showing the video,
potentially being charged with "offences tending to corrupt
morals" in the Criminal Code.
In collaboration with Zachary Frenkiel, student at Norton
Rose Canada LLP
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The arbitrator's decision covered a number of issues including whether the termination was appropriate and whether the City had breached the grievor's human rights. The following, however, will focus on the privacy issue raised.
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