Nanaimo teacher reprimanded for professional misconduct

Reprimand not the first for Matthew Norman Lettington

A Nanaimo high school teacher has been reprimanded for professional misconduct by the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation.

Matthew Norman Lettington, who currently works at Nanaimo District Secondary School, has been ordered to take a course on creating a positive work environment after an investigation by Bruce Preston, the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation.

A consent resolution agreement, which laid out events between 2014 and 2015, says Lettington was asked by a student in his Grade 12 photography class why the paintbrushes were dirty, and Lettington responded and used a derogatory and demeaning term about the abilities of other students.

He asked a student, who said she would not be in class a certain day because of a cousin, if it was a “kissing cousin” and when the student looked confused, didn’t offer an explanation for what the term means and which made the student feel “weird and awkward.” And in explaining a selfie project to his Grade 12 photography class, he showed sample images from social media and made a point of saying girls like to get their bust in the picture, after which he began laughing nervously.

Lettington also posted photographs of students on social media without parental consent and which is required by district policy and took a photo of a student that he manipulated and sent to one of the student’s classmates in a private Instagram message. He engaged in an exchange with the classmate writing “Is he mad?” and “Oh god. You’re pissed.”

It’s not clear what school Lettington worked at during the time of the misconduct. He previously taught visual arts at Wellington Secondary and now works at Nanaimo District Secondary School.

Lettington has seen disciplinary action in the past. The agreement says the Nanaimo school district suspended him in March 2009 for 20 days due to inappropriate interactions and communications with students and the school required him to complete a course on relationship and boundary issues.

Last year, the school district issued Lettington a letter of discipline and suspended him for five days without pay. The letter directed him to avoid any and all behavior which could be perceived as “grooming” behaviour; not to have any communication with student using any technology other than his district e-mail account; not to communicate with students using an alias of any kind and not to take photographs of students and not to sponsor or participate in any school clubs, teams or other extra-curricular activities.

It’s the second consent resolution agreement for Lettington. In 2013, the commissioner served Lettington with a 30-day suspension for inappropriate dealings with students.

Lettington has until April 1, 2018 to complete the course, Creating a Positive Learning Environment at the Justice Institute of B.C.

In an e-mailed response, Nanaimo school district said it cannot confirm the employment status of any school district employee or comment on individual disciplinary matters because they are confidential.

“In all matters, student safety is of utmost concern to us, and we take action to address any concerns or complaints in this regard,” it said.

Lettington could not be reached for comment.

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