British Columbia

'Sad about the way things ended': B.C. teacher suspended for hounding student to be her friend

A high school teacher in Hope, B.C., who admitted to sending drunken messages to a student after her repeated offers of friendship were rejected has had her teaching certificate suspended.

Chelsea Cromarty admitted to pursuing friendship even after student said they weren't interested

A teacher in Hope, B.C., had her certificate suspended after admitting to sending inappropriate messages to a student. (Warren Kay/CBC)

A high school teacher in Hope, B.C., who admitted to sending drunken messages to a student after her repeated offers of friendship were rejected has had her teaching certificate suspended.

Chelsea Dawn Cromarty admitted to professional misconduct for her contact with the Grade 12 student and has agreed to complete a course on respectful professional boundaries, according to a resolution agreement posted online by the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation.

The details of what happened are laid out in the resolution agreement.

Cromarty has admitted her behaviour was inappropriate, acknowledging she had "sought to continue a relationship … after the student communicated that the student was not interested in a relationship with her."

'Increasingly personal' messages to student

The agreement says that throughout all of their interactions, Cromarty was aware the teenager was dealing with "personal struggles."

The student was enrolled in one of Cromarty's classes in 2018, and Cromarty began contacting them through social media that May, sending messages that became "increasingly personal," according to the agreement.

Late in the school year, Cromarty took the student into a separate room during class and spent over an hour talking about personal issues, including her own marriage.

On June 19, Cromarty asked if the student would "hang" with her later that month. The teen declined, but the same day, Cromarty picked them up at home and took the student for a drive, saying she'd like to be friends after graduation.

The two exchanged messages through the evening, and the next morning, Cromarty wrote to the student to remind them of an exam that day, saying: "Get your ass in gear."

Chelsea Cromarty is currently a social studies teacher at Hope Secondary School. (Chelsea Cromarty)

It's then that the student decided Cromarty was making them uncomfortable and stopped responding to her messages, the agreement says.

But the unwanted attention didn't end.

Cromarty called the student early in the summer and said she "felt sad and upset" that the student didn't want to be her friend. The student again told her that they weren't interested.

Cromarty then sent the student a three-page letter outlining her desire to be friends and explaining she was going through a tough time.

On Aug. 4, 2018, Cromarty messaged the student yet again, saying that she was "incredibly drunk" and "sad about the way things ended." She also included a selfie with mouse ears and whiskers drawn on her face.

When the student told her they weren't going to respond, Cromarty asked "Is it because of the drunkenness or because you still don't trust me/don't believe me," then threatened to block the student on social media.

Even after that, Cromarty continued to monitor the student's Facebook page, then messaged them again in November to say "I just wanted to check if things have changed" and "I get the sense that there is no way for me to rectify my past actions."

It's not clear how officials at the Fraser-Cascade School District became aware of what was happening, but in December, the district reprimanded Cromarty, reported her to the Teacher Regulation Branch and said she needed to complete a workshop on boundaries.

Cromarty's teaching certificate was suspended from Sept. 3 to Nov. 1 this year. She has been a teacher since 2011, and according to her website, she is currently teaching social studies at Hope Secondary School.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story said the student involved was female. In fact, the resolution agreement does not include the student's gender. The story has been amended to reflect this.
    Nov 13, 2019 9:23 AM PT

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