An Ontario teacher who slapped a student and told another to “lick me where I fart” received a two-month licence suspension on Monday after pleading guilty to professional misconduct for the second time in two years.
Jennifer Elizabeth Green-Johnson admitted to a troubling history of inappropriate comments at a hearing before an Ontario College of Teachers disciplinary committee. Asked if she was pleading guilty, Green-Johnson nodded her head and mouthed “guilty.” She was forced to repeat herself so that the panel could actually hear her.
The three-person committee followed the advice of Christine Wadsworth, the college’s lawyer, and suspended Green-Johnson’s teaching licence for the next two months. She will also receive an official reprimand in her file and must take courses on anger management and maintaining boundaries with students.
I’d be able to s—t for a week because of all that fibre
“It’s a serious consequence and because it’s a serious consequence… it sends a strong message to the profession,” Wadsworth said, suggesting that the penalty would be strong enough to deter Green-Johnson and other teachers from engaging in similar behaviour in the future. Both Wadsworth and Green-Johnson’s lawyer warned the committee against a stricter penalty.
Green-Johnson politely declined to comment when approached by a reporter outside the hearing.
The Dunnville Secondary School teacher stared straight ahead during the hearing as Wadsworth recounted months of strange and inappropriate behaviour with her students.
During the 2015-16 school year, the teacher told a student to “lick me where I fart” after the student took some gum from Green-Johnson’s drawer and asked if her friend could have some. She told another “it sounds like your ass cheeks are too close together.”
On Mar. 26, 2015, Green-Johnson was in her classroom with a student who is also a family friend. When his mother, a teacher at the school, joined them, the student ignored her. Green-Johnson responded by slapping him in the head, calling him an “idiot” and telling him to “grow some balls.”
“Teachers set the tone for their class and students look to teachers about what behaviour is or isn’t appropriate,” Wadsworth, said. “(It’s) obvious that you shouldn’t slap a student in the head – whatever the explanation is for doing so.”
At the time, the Grand Erie District School Board suspended Green-Johnson without pay for one day, but her behaviour continued.
On Nov. 11, 2015, a student offered to trade Green-Johnson muffins for a passing grade.
“You mean a bribe?” Green-Johnson asked. “I’d be able to s—t for a week because of all that fibre.”
On another occasion, she said “f—k you” to a student after he suggested that women were asking to be sexually assaulted. Days later, she criticized another student for looking like a “frumpy old lady.”
After hearing about the comment from a friend, the student wrote in a letter that she didn’t have time to do her hair and makeup that day.
“I felt betrayed and bullied,” the student wrote, explaining that she was so upset by Green-Johnson’s comments that she went into the girls’ bathroom and cried.
Green-Johnson received a six-day suspension without pay and was warned again about her behaviour.
Whenever a teacher is suspended, their case is referred to the Ontario College of Teachers. This wasn’t Green-Johnson’s first appearance in front of a disciplinary committee.
In January 2016, the Ontario College of Teachers suspended the teacher’s licence for one month, reprimanded her and ordered her to take a class on establishing boundaries with students after finding her guilty of professional misconduct.
That case focused on her inappropriate behaviour during the 2011-12 school year. After she saw a student climb on another’s back, she asked them: “So you like it from behind?” She told her class she needed a microscope to find an actor’s penis. And she called her students “idiots” and “stupid.” She also accidentally struck a student in the groin, causing him to fall to the floor in tears.
After serving her suspension and completing her courses, Green-Johnson is free to return to Dunnville Secondary School, where she’s still listed as a teacher.
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