British Columbia

Teacher punished for sharing 'creepy' films and dating details with students

James Douglas Thwaites was a substitute teacher in the Vanderhoof area, west of Prince George, for students in grades 3 to 8.

Substitute teacher in northern B.C. given two-day teaching suspension

A northern B.C. teacher was suspended for two days for sharing 'creepy' films and dating details with his students. (CBC)

A teacher has been disciplined for sharing "creepy"  films and dating details with students in northern B.C.

James Douglas Thwaites was a substitute teacher in the Nechako School District, west of Prince George, for students in grades 3 to 8.

Thwaites showed "poor judgment," "inappropriate behaviour," and professional misconduct during several incidents in 2018, according to an agreed statement of facts released last month by the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation.

'Creepy' films had sexual innuendo

It states Thwaites showed inappropriate short films to students in grades 7 and 8.

They included violent puppets and stick figures, as well as sexual innuendo.

Students described the films as "weird, creepy, and inappropriate."

Thwaites also told students about his divorce, the expense of his break-up, and his romance with an overseas girlfriend. 

While working as a substitute teacher for a grade 3/4 class, Thwaites discussed "crushes" with several students.

Student told, 'Oh, you're such a player'

"Thwaites asked one student how his girlfriends were and told him: 'Oh, you're such a player,'" according to the commissioner's written ruling. 

Prior to these incidents, in 2016 and 2017, school officials had twice issued Thwaites written reminders to maintain professional boundaries and respect.

After the incidents in 2018, Thwaites resigned from the Nechako School District.

Soon after, he completed a course in professional boundaries at the Justice Institute of B.C.

The Commissioner for Teacher Regulation imposed a two-day suspension on Thwaites.

Teacher now works at school in remote area

But the suspension was imposed retroactively so as not to "adversely affect" students in Thwaites' current teaching job.

The commissioner states Thwaites is now teaching at a small school in a remote area. 

The school was not identified, but Thwaites signed the disciplinary agreement in Yekooche, a remote Indigenous community in northern B.C.