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Education minister revokes licences of suspended teachers

Four teachers who were given suspensions by the Alberta Teachers Association have been fired by Education Minister Jeff Johnson because he felt the penalties didn’t go far enough.

Jeff Johnson 'disappointed' Alberta Teachers Association didn't revoke teaching licences

Jeff Johnson has fired four ATA teachers who had previously only been suspended, saying they are not fit to return to the classroom. 2:01

Four teachers who were given suspensions by the Alberta Teachers Association (ATA) have been fired by Education Minister Jeff Johnson because he felt the penalties didn’t go far enough.

“It was beyond a shadow of a doubt, as soon you read the documents, that these people should never be in a classroom again,” Johnson said.

He also permanently revoked their teaching licences. 

The cases include a teacher who had sexual intercourse with a student, another who had sexual conversations with a student and a third who defrauded the federal and provincial governments of more than $100,000.

The fourth case involved a teacher who yelled and swore at students before injuring two of them while kicking furniture and throwing objects.

“The fact that suspensions were recommended as opposed to terminating a licence ... to say disappointing, would be an understatement,” he said.

Listen to Jeff Johnson discuss his decision with CBC's John Archer on Edmonton AM

The education minister has the right to make final decisions on the fate of teachers.

Still, Johnson’s actions have taken the ATA by surprise because a minister has never stepped in like this before.

“There is, I think, some politics in this,” ATA executive secretary Gordon Thomas said.

This issue is the latest in an ongoing battle between Johnson and the ATA. Earlier this month, delegates at the ATA annual general meeting passed a loss of confidence motion against Johnson.

Teachers are angry that a provincial task force appointed by Johnson recommended the ATA no longer have responsibility for evaluating teachers. 

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