Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district employee under investigation by RCMP
RCMP in Nanaimo confirm they are investigating the actions of a School District 68 employee, at one point taking him into custody.
In a statement, police say they were informed on June 12 of an incident involving the employee and arrested the man, releasing him with conditions later that same day.
“Police in conjunction with the school district officials believe that there is no further risk to the public which involves staff, students or any facilities,” the Mounties said in a statement Friday.
“Due to the fact the individual has not been formally charged, no information will be released on their identity and any pending court dates,” the statement read.
RCMP are not confirming what role the employee has within the district, nor which school the person worked at.
The mother of a special-needs student at a high school in the district says she was contacted by the school’s principal to tell her that her child had been in daily contact with an employee who had been terminated and arrested.
The principal wouldn’t go into further details but encouraged the parent to seek counselling for her child.
“I think as a parent it makes you feel that you failed your child and your child is supposed to feel safe at school,” said the mother, whom CTV News has agreed not to identify.
Unable to get details from the principal, the parent says she began talking with her son who then opened up about what had been taking place.
“He told me his educational assistant (EA) had been fired and his friends two days ago had been back and forth to the police station for this whole situation,” she said.
The mother says it appears the EA had kept in regular contact with her son and other students through social media. She also says he gave a ride to at least one of the students in his personal automobile and took boys on outings to the Colliery Dam.
“I think they were spending a fair amount of time up there and he started saying that the EA was taking them up there to watch pornography and look at inappropriate pictures,” she said.
The mother hasn’t yet had the opportunity to connect with parents of the other students she believes were also affected by the EA’s activities.
“I feel that this individual definitely targeted vulnerable, vulnerable boys.” she said. “It makes me sickened."
A statement released by School District 68 reads:
“The district is committed to the safety of our students and take immediate action if allegations are raised. We can confirm that the individual is not in our schools. However, we cannot comment on the specifics of a personal matter.”
Cindy Dalglish is an education advocate who facilitates a working group on developing standards of practice for educational assistants. She says more work needs to be done in the areas of standardizing qualifications for EAs in the province.
She also says should the allegations be found to be true, the employee would still be treated differently because he is not a teacher.
“They (teachers) wouldn’t be allowed to go to another district because their licence has been revoked. EAs don’t have that,” Dalglish said.
“My heart goes out to everyone that’s affected and you know obviously these are still allegations at this point,” she added. “That is not representative whatsoever of the vast majority of the EAs out there.”
RCMP continue their investigation but so far no charges have been laid.