Manitoba

Teacher Brad Badiuk suspended without pay: case called ground-breaking

School trustee Mike Babinsky says the Winnipeg School Division is heading into uncharted territory by suspending a teacher without pay for posting derogatory comments on Facebook.

Winnipeg high school teacher suspended without pay for derogatory Facebook comments

School trustee Mike Babinsky says the Winnipeg School Division is heading into uncharted territory by suspending a teacher without pay for posting derogatory comments on Facebook. 2:05

School trustee Mike Babinsky says the Winnipeg School Division is heading into uncharted territory by suspending a teacher without pay for posting derogatory comments on Facebook.

Winnipeg teacher Brad Badiuk was originally suspended with pay after making racially-charged comments about aboriginal people on Facebook.

Winnipeg School Division launched an investigation into Badiuk, and now, the electronics teacher at Kelvin High School is on unpaid leave.

Babinsky said it’s hard to determine what the outcome of the investigation will be.

“Will he be terminated? Yes or no? If he is, will he resist? If he does resist, will he go to the courts?” said Babinsky. “If he does go to the courts, then if there is a decision, that will be ground-breaking.”

Babinsky said a teacher being disciplined for something he may have posted on Facebook in the privacy of his home opens up a new area for school divisions.

“These are ground-breaking areas that we are going into,” said Babinsky. “Precedents will have to be set. Can we say anything even though we are at home? Are we being watched? It looks like everybody is being watched, and you have to be careful.”

Mark Wasyliw, chair of the Winnipeg School Division, said the division has never handled a case involving a teacher accused of posting racially-charged messages on social media, but policy related to the appropriate course of action for alleged misconduct by a teacher remains the same.

"Just because this is on a teacher's off day in your private life doesn't mean it doesn't impact their classroom," Wasyliw said. 

"We have parents and staff that want to live and teach and work in a safe environment and they have to know that it's not poisoned by these types of views, if they turn out to be correct."

Wasyliw added that individuals who possess a racist mentality are not welcome in the Winnipeg School Division.

"You can't police people's thoughts," he said. "And some people obviously are going to think like this. And hopefully they just decide not to come work at the Winnipeg School Division."

Badiuk is already facing a lawsuit from Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.

Some of Badiuk's comments specifically mentioned Nepinak, saying he wanted to "get his hands" on money that wasn't his.

Nepinak is suing Badiuk, alleging he defamed an entire race of people.

Winnipeg School Division is still completing their investigation.