Williams Lake area teacher suspended for yanking young student’s arm, knocking them to ground

Teacher disciplined again

A Williams Lake-area elementary school teacher who pulled a second grader’s arm will have her teaching license suspended for three days following a consent resolution agreement.

Wendy Anne Bernier, who was employed by School District 27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) at the time of the offence, will also be required to complete a course on creating a positive work environment, according to a report from B.C.’s Commissioner for Teacher Regulation.

According to a commissioner’s report, Bernier pulled the student’s arm and caused the child to fall to the ground, crying, when she attempted to photograph graffiti the student had written on the outside of a school wall.

The incident occurred over the lunch hour on March 9, 2022.

Bernier learned that a Grade 2 student in her split class wrote the graffiti and she went outside to photograph it. The student then ran in front of her to block her view and Bernier grabbed the student’s arm and pulled the child away quickly, according to the report.

After falling to the ground, the student then ran inside the school, followed by other students who began teasing the child.

Bernier did not go to check on the student, despite being told by another school employee the student was being teased.

A student who witnessed the interaction would go on to report feeling nervous, while a classmate reported feeling scared.

SD27 ended up suspending Bernier a week without pay for the incident, which was the third such instance in three years of her using physical contact with students, according to the report.

In 2020, she was issued a letter from the school district reminding her it was never appropriate to physically touch a student unless they posed a risk to themselves or others.

The following year, she was slapped with a disciplinary letter after allegations surfaced that she “had physically handled one of her students.”

As part of that discipline, Bernier was required to complete a professional boundaries course and explain to her students how she intended to ensure a safe learning environment going forward.

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