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B.C. teacher fired for mistreating Indigenous students must take anti-racism course

Deborah Laurie Croft admitted to pulling one student by the arm, hitting another with a book
B.C. teacher Deborah Laurie Croft will be suspended for two days and must undergo anti-racism training, as a result of a regulatory college investigation into her treatment of two Indigenous students. (Credit: Pixabay)

The B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation has decided on its own consequences for a teacher who was fired from a school in 2020 over her treatment of two Indigenous students.

Deborah Laurie Croft will still be allowed to teach in B.C., but must serve a two-day suspension and complete a course on systemic racism in Canada.

The consent agreement published Tuesday (March 21) doesn’t disclose where Croft was employed when the incidents occurred, but says she was working at an independent school.

In the first incident, on November 5, 2019, Croft got upset with a pair of Grade 11 students who were hanging out in her empty classroom on their study break. Croft was headed to a meeting and asked them to leave so she could lock up the room.

When the students refused to go, Croft closed the classroom blinds and locked the door with the three of them inside. She then pulled at one of the teen’s arms, an Indigenous student, and grabbed their phone out of their hand in an attempt to convince them to leave.

A few month later, on February 25, 2020, Croft had another physical interaction with a different Indigenous student. This time the student, a Grade 10, was disrupting Croft’s social studies class by slamming their book shut loudly. Croft asked the student to leave and then hit them across their rear end with their textbook as they exited. The student reported feeling humiliated.

The school fired Croft in June 2020 and then filed a complaint with the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation, who has the authority to penalize teachers up to banning them from the profession entirely.

Croft won’t face such serious discipline though. She has agreed to a two-day teaching certificate suspension to be served March 30-31, and to complete a course on systemic racism in Canada.

It’s not clear from the consent agreement whether Croft is currently teaching in B.C.. She signed the agreement in Chilliwack.

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About the Author: Jane Skrypnek

Hi, I'm a provincial reporter with Black Press Media, where I've worked since 2020.
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