Alberta professor fined $ 32,000 for unprofessional conduct



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A teacher from Alberta was ordered to pay $ 32,500 in fines and had her membership in the teacher's association canceled after being found guilty of eight counts of unprofessional conduct.

Frieda Anne Mennes was found to treat students differently based on her academic skills and "retaliated" against parents who raised concerns about her behavior in the classroom.

The Alberta Teachers Association conduct committee announced the penalties at a hearing in Edmonton on Monday.

Without being a member of the association, Mennes can not work legally for public, separate or francophone school authorities in Alberta. The committee, as is customary when a member is canceled, will also ask the Minister of Education to cancel the mennes education certificate.

The cumulative fine of $ 32,500 in respect of the eight charges under Law of Teaching Profession is the largest ever issued, according to the association.

Monday's hearing is the latest development in an unprecedented disciplinary process.

Long disciplinary proceedings

A complaint against Mennes was presented to the association in November 2016, leading to a nine-month investigation. The panel met for the first time in March this year, the first of the 23 hearings that would include testimony from 60 witnesses.

It is probably the longest disciplinary process in the association's history, said spokesman Jonathan Teghtmeyer. It is unusual, he said, even the most complex cases to last for more than a week.

This is partly due to most of the evidence presented by the committee, he said. The committee ruled on actions and comments that Mennes had made over a 36-year period since September 1981.

Frieda Anne Mennes was contacted by CBC News on Monday afternoon, but she declined to comment.

Mennes did not appear at the hearing on Monday and made no submissions regarding the penalties. Although the investigated member may seek legal advice, the association does not provide it in such cases.

The committee canceled Mennes's membership in six counts and issued a stern rebuke letter to the other two. The fines for each charge ranged from $ 1,500 to $ 8,000.

The committee also found that Mennes made false allegations of aggression against a principal, sent anonymous letters to the school division making "inflammatory" comments about colleagues and commented on students who "did not treat students with dignity and respect and with consideration for their circumstances ". "

Mennes worked in the Grasslands Public Schools Division for most of his career.

Superintendent Scott Brandt said a third-party investigator was investigating complaints against Mennes shortly before the association launched its own investigation in late 2016. He said the school division suspended its own lawsuit at that time.

Providing schools that are welcoming, caring, and safe for all of our students, whether around a sense of diversity or creating a sense of belonging, is an essential part of our school division.– Scott Brandt, superintendent of the Grasslands Public Schools Division

Brant declined to say whether the school division had investigated Mennes before 2016, adding that he could only comment on the actions taken during his tenure.

"Providing schools that are welcoming, caring, and safe for all of our students, whether around a sense of diversity or creating a sense of belonging, is an essential part of our school division," he said.

The faculty association will only disclose the details of your investigation and the hearings once a written decision has been issued. The panel has 60 days to issue the decision in writing, while Mennes will have a 30-day window to file an appeal.

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