puvirnituq-quebec_resized

The remote community of Puvirnituq, Que., is east of Hudson Bay. (Google)

A Quebec arbitrator has sided with a Nunavik teacher who says the school board unfairly damaged his reputation.

Pierre-Luc Belisle taught in Puvirtinuq, Que. In 2010 he spoke to the media about violence in the schools.

Belisle said he was punched in the stomach by two students and said violent and sexual harassment from students was causing teachers to leave the school system. He also expressed frustration with the school board.

That prompted the Kativik School Board to publicly respond and say claims were exaggerated. The school board also cast doubt on Belisle’s abilities as teacher and told media that visiting teachers’ lack of experience and cultural knowledge was to blame for the violence.

The arbitrator found that the board went too far by denigrating Belisle and damaging his reputation.

Patrick D'Astous is the president of the teacher's union. He says the arbitrator's decision shows the school board wouldn't listen to Belisle.

"That's why he went to the media - because he didn't find any exit, any reception at the school board at any level, for what he felt was very important in his work.  And it was affecting the life of everyone, he felt, in the school.  And he was right to say so," he said.

The arbitrator has ordered the school board to pay damages and provide Belisle with a letter of recommendation.

He is now teaching near Montreal.