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B.C. teacher reprimanded for yelling out anti-vaccine rhetoric at school immunization clinic

FILE. A Terrace area teacher has received a formal reprimand. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg

A B.C. teacher was reprimanded this week for yelling anti-vaccine rhetoric at health-care workers during a COVID-19 immunization clinic at his school, according to a consent resolution agreement with the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation.

Patrick James Nelson, a secondary school teacher in the Coast Mountains School District in Terrace, B.C., in October 2021 when the health authority held a clinic at the school and he stormed in to express his views.

“Students who were legally able to make decisions for themselves were encouraged to attend the clinic in order to get vaccinated,” reads the decision that was published online Tuesday.

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“Nelson left the class he was teaching unattended and made his way to the cafeteria where he angrily interrupted and disrupted the vaccination clinic with students present. Nelson addressed health authority staff in a raised and angry voice.”

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Nelson told health authority staff that they were guests at Nelson’s School and that the health authority had no legal right to immunize students without parental permission.

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He also said the vaccines were “experimental, dangerous, and poisonous” and should not be used.

Health authority staff, he said, were unethical in how they presented information on the vaccines and how they were offering the vaccines to students and he said they should be “ashamed of themselves.”

According to the document, Nelson’s tone and anger were such that a school staff member called for assistance from the school’s administration, and some students were upset and had to be removed from the cafeteria.

When one of the health authority nurses attempted to calm Nelson down, the document stated that he approached them without wearing a mask over his nose and mouth, which was contrary to the district’s COVID-19 protocols, and proceeded to yell and point his finger in the nurse’s face.

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This interaction, according to the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation, left the two eight-to-10 centimetres apart, which was not aligned with distancing protocols in effect during that time of the pandemic.

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It was months later, on March 3, 2022, when the District issued Nelson a letter of discipline and suspended him without pay from March 7 to March 18, 2022, inclusive.

The district also required Nelson to write an apology to the health clinic personnel and to attend a meeting with affected students and staff at the school.

He also had to complete a course called Reinforcing Respectful Professional Boundaries and Human Relations offered by the Justice Institute of B.C., by Sept. 1, 2022.

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This was in addition to a course he previously had to take with the district in relation to an incident on Nov. 12, 2019, when he swore in front of his class in frustration. That time, the district directed Nelson to complete the BCTF Boundaries Workshop and to meet with the school principal every two weeks until the end of the first semester of the 2019/2020 school year in order to discuss behavior management strategies.

On June 15, 2022, the Commissioner proposed a consent resolution agreement to Nelson, that acknowledged the teacher failed to model the appropriate behavior expected of an educator.

Nelson signed the agreement from Mexico, acknowledging his understanding of the document.

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