A teacher of elementary-aged children in Metro Vancouver has been suspended for six months after having “inappropriate” contact with students over social media.
Erik Oun was working for the Coquitlam school district when he began chatting with two Grade 5 students on Instagram in summer 2019.
According to a consent agreement published Tuesday (May 11) by the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation, Oun called both of them “sweetie” and “sweetheart” in messages.
At one point, he nicknamed them “Snobby McSnobbertson” when the children did not respond quickly.
Other messages said, “I love how you pose for pics” and called the children “cute” and “adorable.” According to the ruling, the teacher had disclosed his messaging habits with the children’s parents.
“In this day and age we all have to be careful,” the now-suspended educator wrote at the time.
However, Oun’s messaging became “persistent and unwelcome,” detailed the agreement. The child’s mother eventually asked him to stop.
“I clearly have made a poor judgment,” the teacher told her, apologizing for his actions.
First disciplined by the Coquitlam school district in February 2020, Oun was suspended for 25 days without pay. He later resigned from his position in January 2021.
This week, commissioner Howard Kushner ruled Oun “failed to observe appropriate professional boundaries” in his interactions with students.
During the 2018 to 2019 school year, Oun was seen hugging several students, often multiple times.
The suspended teacher has been ordered to complete a course on maintaining professional boundaries in the workplace.
Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.