Teaching certificate revoked after sex incident

DSBN education centre.

DSBN education centre.

The teaching certificate of former District School Board of Niagara teacher Christine Ann Collini has been revoked after she was found guilty of accusations of professional misconduct, including the sexual, physical and emotional abuse of students.

Collini's actions were the object of a three-member disciplinary committee hearing of the Ontario College of Teachers last summer, following interactions with two students in 2012.

The panel's decision was summarized in December’s issue of Professionally Speaking, the magazine of the Ontario College of Teachers.

At the June 7, 2016 hearing, the disciplinary panel received a statement of uncontested facts surrounding the case and a plea of no contest.

Collini, who started her employment with the DSBN in 2000, did not attend the June 7 hearing, nor did she have legal representation. She did prepare written submissions.

Discipline committee members hear and determine matters related to alleged professional misconduct and/or incompetence against College members.

The panel heard that during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 academic years — among other things — Collini had "inappropriate" interactions with students in her class, including having them help her move house, giving them drives without permission from parents or school administration, and using profanity in class.

She also had personal conversations with students in class including discussions about her divorce, sexual activity and consumption of alcohol.

In addition, Collini “requested and allowed students to contribute to her online dating profile during class time,” said the statement.

Her inappropriate interactions with the two students occurred in October or November, 2012. The age of the students, and the DSBN school Collini taught at are redacted from the statement.

The panel heard Collini invited two students to her house, where they were offered alcohol.

While there, she and the first student kissed, then went to her bedroom where she continued kissing him. That student felt uncomfortable and left.

After the first student returned to the living room, the second student went upstairs to her bedroom. Collini and student No. 2 then had sexual intercourse, said the statement of facts.

The DSBN assigned Collini to home duties with pay, pending an investigation, in late August 2014. On Nov. 25 of that year, her employment with the board was terminated.

The College’s discipline committee’s June decision found Collini guilty of the allegations of professional misconduct and directed that her teaching certificate of qualification be revoked.

“The Member’s conduct involved the sexual, physical and emotional abuse of vulnerable students,” the decision said. “Moreover, the member’s conduct jeopardized the public’s confidence in the teaching profession.”

The committee also declined her request to not publish her name, despite her concerns doing so would have a negative impact on her life and family.

Her conduct, at the “high end of the spectrum of professional misconduct,” was among the reasons given for publishing her name.

The panel did not accept that releasing Collini's name would have a negative impact on her life and family, and in its decision said that a published name indicates the serious nature of the misconduct, acts as a deterrent, and ensures transparency.

Niagara Regional Police said last week that Collini has not been charged.

Police declined to say whether or not she was investigated, as that information is “not for public record.”

When contacted by The Standard, Collini declined comment.

DSBN spokeswoman Kim Yielding said the “safety and protection of our students is a top priority” for the board.

“Upon learning of these allegations, the DSBN launched a thorough investigation, including contacting the police," Yielding said.

“The teacher is no longer in the employ of DSBN. In order to respect the confidentiality of all involved, the DSBN does not discuss matters regarding students or personnel.”