HALIFAX – A teacher with a prior record of assault has been arrested after an altercation that began when he allegedly removed a Halifax-area youth’s earbuds.
A video has been circulating of part of the Oct. 3 incident at Cole Harbour District High, which saw the teacher placed on leave within hours. RCMP Cpl. Jennifer Clarke says the incident the man allegedly removed earbuds worn by a 15-year-old boy and things quickly escalated.
“The youth then removed the man’s lanyard that was attached to keys in his pants pocket. The man then pushed the youth into a wall, and put him on the floor,” she said.
A 42-year-old Dartmouth man has been arrested for assault and mischief. Clarke says the mischief arrest stems from alleged damage to the earbuds.
“The earbuds were damaged when they were ripped out of the individual’s ears,” she said.
The boy reported the incident to school administration and was checked by emergency health services, but was not injured.
Clarke said the man has been placed on leave “to ensure he did not have any access to the victim at the school … to give the victim some protection.”
A spokesman for the Halifax Regional Centre for Education said the teacher had been placed on administrative leave, “and has voluntarily surrendered” his teaching licence.
Doug Hadley said the school board takes “any matter potentially impacting the safety and security of our students very seriously and we are conducting our own investigation, independent of police.”
“There is no timeline for when this investigation will be complete. As this is a personnel matter, the HRCE will not be providing further comment.”
Clarke said police interviewed many witnesses, and the probe is ongoing.
The man was arrested Nov. 9 and released on conditions. He is scheduled to appear in Dartmouth provincial court on Dec. 12, according to a police news release.
According to court records, the teacher pled guilty in October of last year to threatening his former girlfriend, and in November 2013 pled guilty to assaulting his ex-wife.
In a victim impact statement, the teacher’s wife said he had pulled her hair.
The vice principal at the teacher’s high school wrote in a pre-sentence report that he’d shown creativity in working with youth at the school, had worked with students on numerous video projects, and had created “unique projects and assessment tools that were highly engaging for students.”
The administrator said the teacher had worked on youth initiatives that included an annual music production, and a school dance intended to raise money for the food bank.
The teacher was sentenced to a conditional sentence served in the community, and as a result didn’t incur a criminal record.
In 2017, a pre-sentence report for threats against his former girlfriend said that the teacher was receiving medication for attention deficit disorder. He said he didn’t see a therapist, but had received counselling in the past for anger management.
He remained active in the school, advising the yearbook committee, and acting as teacher adviser for the basketball and film society.
He told the court that he believed he should “look for a counsellor” in light of his latest case before the courts. His former girlfriend said she wanted the teacher to stay away from her and that “he has an anger problem.”
“He needs help with anger and lack of memory over his behaviour,” she’s quoted as telling the probation officer.