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Central Alberta high school teacher accused of sexual exploitation

A photo of Andrew Philip Jissink taken from the Barrhead Composite High School website. CREDIT: http://www.bchscomtech.ca/

A 43-year-old teacher from Barrhead, Alta. has been charged with three counts of sexual exploitation of a young person.

RCMP said officers responded to a report of “inappropriate interactions” between a teacher and three students from Barrhead Composite High School on a social media site Monday.

Police said they believe the teacher used the Snapchat website to communicate with the students but no physical contact was reported.

On Thursday, police said Andrew Philip Jissink was arrested and charged and released with conditions following a bail hearing. They said Jissink was also teaching at R.F. Staples Secondary School in Westlock, Alta. at the time the social media incident was reported.

Jissink is scheduled to make his first appearance in Barrhead Provincial Court on Feb. 14.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the Barrhead RCMP detachment at 780-674-4848 or to anonymously submit a tip to Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477 or online.

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Mounties said the ages and grades of the victims will not be released.

In a statement Friday, Pembina Hills Public Schools’ superintendent said the district is cooperating with the RCMP investigation.

“While we can’t comment on a specific personnel matter, we can describe the steps we take if and when allegations of inappropriate conduct are brought to our attention,” Colleen Symyrozum-Watt said.

She explained they would “immediately launch an investigation,” “take the steps we need to ensure student safety; this may include making arrangements such that the employee is no longer in contact with students,” and “we may involve external authorities.”

She said, once the investigation is done and the outcome shared with the district, “we take the disciplinary steps we deem appropriate. Our actions and decisions are guided by:
– Our commitment to ensuring student safety
– Our expectations of our employees as set out in the ATA Code of Conduct
– Our responsibilities under the School Act
– Respect for the legal process and the privacy of the individuals involved”

Barrhead is about 120 kilometres northwest of Edmonton. Westlock is about 40 kilometres east of Barrhead.