British Columbia

B.C. teacher loses licence after pursuing relationships with new grads

A B.C. teacher has had his licence cancelled after he admitted to exchanging inappropriate messages with students and trying to date two of them as soon as they graduated from high school.

Joseph Arnesto is banned from reapplying for a teaching certificate for the next 10 years

Joseph Arnesto taught at an independent school and crossed professional boundaries with multiple students, according to the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation. The commissioner has not identified where Arnesto worked. (Tobias Arhelger/Shutterstock)

A B.C. teacher has had his licence cancelled after he admitted to exchanging inappropriate messages with students and trying to date two of them as soon as they graduated from high school.

Joseph James Hizon Arnesto signed a consent resolution agreement late last month agreeing to the cancellation of his teaching certificate and a 10-year ban on reapplying to teach again, according to a summary posted Tuesday by the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation.

The notice says Arnesto crossed the line with "a number of students" during his time teaching Grades 7 to 12 at an unnamed independent school, despite being cautioned about maintaining professional boundaries.

"Arnesto's inappropriate conduct occurred on a variety of occasions, over a number of years," the summary says.

Arnesto's interactions with four students are detailed in the document. No identifying information about where the school is located or the students' genders has been included.

The first incident involved a Grade 12 student he met outside of school for coffee and messaged through texts, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. Arnesto admitted that shortly after the student graduated, he "made it clear that he wished to pursue a romantic relationship," the summary says.

It goes on to say that he began messaging the second student using multiple platforms when they were only in Grade 8, asking them questions about their personal life and family.

Two years before the second student graduated, the school principal had warned Arnesto to be mindful of his relationship with the student, and told him not to discuss non-school matters with any student.

Nonetheless, Arnesto continued to message the second student for a total of four years, then waited less than a week after the student graduated before letting them know he was interested in a romantic relationship, the summary says.

Meanwhile, just two months before the second student graduated, Arnesto received a written warning from the principal after he was discovered sending private messages to a third student, then in Grade 8.

Arnesto also began exchanging messages with a fourth student when they were in Grade 10, sometimes discussing schoolwork but also asking about the student's romantic life, according to the summary.

The school's superintendent made a report to the Teacher Regulation Branch about Arnesto in July 2020, and his contract was not renewed for the 2020-2021 school year.

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