Anti-vax teacher appeals suspension
Timothy C. Sullivan (The Canadian Press)
The Norfolk high school science teacher found guilty of misconduct due to inappropriate sharing of his anti-vaccination views with students is appealing a sentence handed down by the Ontario College of Teachers.
Timothy C. Sullivan got a one-month suspension and a reprimand at the end of May from a disciplinary committee of the college.
But, within 30 days, he served a notice of appeal that halts the penalty until the appeal can be heard.
Meanwhile, he remains a teacher in good standing on the college's website.
Sullivan did not return phone calls for comment.
And a spokesperson from the Grand Erie District School Board did not reply to a phone call seeking comment.
Sullivan's appeal will be heard in the Superior Court of Justice's Divisional Court, which deals with judicial reviews and appeals from administrative tribunals.
The college determined Sullivan abused students psychologically and emotionally through his actions on March 9, 2015, when he told them they could die if they received vaccines during a health clinic.
He also was found to have shouted at a public health nurse who was giving the inoculations.
During a disciplinary hearing, Sullivan admitted that he left his classroom to speak to nurses but said he was simply encouraging students to get more information about the vaccines.
The school board - which had previously warned Sullivan about his anti-vaccination "fixation" -- suspended the teacher for a day without pay.
In addition to the suspension handed down by the college, Sullivan was to complete a boundaries and ethics course. He also is prohibited from going to any health clinic conducted at his school for two years.
The disciplinary committee noted that "even after (Sullivan) was found guilty of professional misconduct, (he) continued to have limited insight into why his actions constituted misconduct."
The committee also noted that Sullivan didn't intend for his behaviour to be harmful. Instead, he was just sharing an honestly held belief that he should inform students about his views on vaccines.
It was suggested that Sullivan should apologize to health unit nurses who were frightened by his behaviour.
Sullivan, who represented himself at the disciplinary hearing, walked out of the May hearing while a lawyer for the college made submissions.
Sullivan received a three-day suspension from the school board last April for discussing his disciplinary problems with the media. A letter he received said he had "negatively impacted" the board's image.
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