A former Abbotsford high school principal recently had his teaching certificate suspended for four months after having relationships with three teaching assistants (TA).
Bruce Preston, B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation, stated in a discipline ruling issued on March 27 that Michael Edmund Ewert acted “unprofessionally and inappropriately” and “used his position of power and authority as principal” when conducting the relationships.
Ewert was the principal of Colleen and Gordie Howe middle school in Abbotsford at the time.
According to the “consent resolution agreement,” Ewert began a sexual relationship with the first TA in 2008 and 2009.
He often spent work time talking with her about personal matters, and used his position to influence her being assigned to the school, the document states.
When Ewert discovered the TA had a drug problem, he told her she could not drive students in her car, which her job sometimes required her to do, but he did not report the matter to district administration.
“He acknowledges that he did not do so because he was involved in a personal relationship with her that created a conflict of interest between his personal interests and his obligations as an educator and principal,” Preston wrote.
The document states that Ewert’s relationship with the second TA took place from September 2009 to December 2010, and the third was in 2010 and 2011.
Both involved Ewert spending work time discussing personal matters with the women and exchanging text messages of a “personal and intimate nature” during work hours and late at night.
The document states that Ewert:
– inappropriately used work time for personal purposes and redirected the work of the TAs away from their students;
– created an appearance that he favoured the TAs;
– failed to role model appropriate social and professional boundaries to staff and students; and
– appeared to staff to use his position as principal to further his personal interests.
The Abbotsford school district began an investigation of Ewert in July 2011, at which time he denied having any relationships with the three women, the agreement states.
He also communicated with them about the investigation after being directed by district administration not to do so.
Ewert resigned from his job in February 2012, and the district filed a complaint with the Teacher Regulation Branch three months later.
The suspension was in effect from Dec. 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015.
Ewert is now required to complete the Boundaries course offered by the Teacher Regulation Branch or his teaching certificate can be suspended again.