Art teacher who called students vulgar names disciplined again

A Vancouver art teacher who told a female student to "stop acting like a little bitch" and assured another she would get good marks because she's "good looking" has been suspended from work for one week.

Teacher has history of discipline with the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation

Malcolm McTaggart is an art teacher with a history of discipline for his conduct. (Nataliia Kulykovska/Shutterstock)

A Vancouver art teacher who told a female student to "stop acting like a little bitch" and assured another she would get good marks because she's "good looking" has been suspended from work for one week.

Malcolm Murray McTaggart has a history of discipline with the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation, but was recently reprimanded again over several incidents involving teenage girls in 2015 and 2016.

That includes at least five examples of inappropriate behaviour with a single student in his Grade 10 art class at David Thompson Secondary, and two instances where he called students vulgar names in front of their classmates.

For those transgressions, McTaggart will have to give up his teaching certificate for one week beginning on Dec. 17, after signing a consent agreement with the commissioner late last month.

Swearing at students

Two of the inappropriate incidents happened in a ceramics class in early 2015.

In one case, he told a student, in front of her classmates and a school employee, to "stop acting like a little bitch," according to the consent agreement. In the other, he audibly muttered "that was an asshole move" when a student left class early.

A second set of events happened during the next school year in a Grade 10 art class, and they all involved one female student.

"During class, McTaggart would sometimes breach professional boundaries by giving Student A a sideways hug, placing his hands on her shoulder or touching and patting her back when reviewing her work," the consent agreement says.

McTaggart told a Grade 10 student not to worry about her grades because she's a "good-looking kid." (Getty Images)

McTaggart also gave her a nickname she didn't like and made her uncomfortable by telling her "you look nice today."

When he discussed a planned vacation in Mexico, McTaggart told the girl, "It would be so neat if you could come [with me] as my daughter and speak Spanish so I could find a wife."

And after the student said she was worried about her marks in McTaggart's class, he told her not to worry: "You know you're a good-looking kid … you know you'll get a great mark."

A history of discipline

The school district handed McTaggart two letters of discipline over the 2015 and 2016 incidents and suspended him from work for 10 days. He was also told to complete a course on appropriate boundaries, which he has yet to do.

Now that he's been disciplined by the commissioner, McTaggart will also have to take on course on "reinforcing respectful professional boundaries" at the Justice Institute of B.C. by April 30, 2019.

McTaggart has a long history of discipline with the school district and the teachers' regulator.

In 2013, he agreed to a reprimand for three incidents dating as far back as 1993. That included calling in sick for three days when he was actually headed to court for personal reasons, using profanity and sarcasm with students and touching a student's back.

The now-defunct B.C. College of Teachers investigated another complaint about McTaggart's conduct in 2009, but no further action was taken.

About the Author

Bethany Lindsay

Journalist

Bethany Lindsay has more than a decade of experience in B.C. journalism, with a focus on the courts, health and social justice issues. She has also reported on human rights and crimes against humanity in Cambodia. Questions or news tips? Get in touch at bethany.lindsay@cbc.ca or on Twitter through @bethanylindsay.