Elementary school teacher suspended following 'inappropriate contact' with students over Instagram

·2 min read
The teacher has now had his teaching certificate suspended for six months due to inappropriate contact with students over social media. (Sofia Rodriguez/CBC - image credit)
The teacher has now had his teaching certificate suspended for six months due to inappropriate contact with students over social media. (Sofia Rodriguez/CBC - image credit)

A teacher in the Coquitlam school district has had his certificate suspended for six months after the B.C. commissioner for teacher regulation found he crossed professional boundaries while chatting with students over Instagram and also shared confidential information about one student with another.

Erik Oun, an elementary school teacher in School District 43, chatted with two Grade 5 students over Instagram during the 2018-2019 year, according to a consent resolution agreement released by the commissioner.

During this time, the report found that Oun "engaged in inappropriate contact through social media with young students."

In both cases, it says Oun sought permission from the students' parents before beginning to send messages to them, telling one parent that "there have to be some boundaries."

Oun would write messages to the students calling them sweetheart, sweetie, sweets and goofball. He would send emojis of hearts and smiley faces.

He called one of the students cute and adorable over the social media app and messaged that he missed them.

When the students didn't respond quickly to his messages, the report says he would ask why they weren't responding and call them Snobby McSnobbertson.

In one student's case, the messages became so "persistent and unwelcome," the student's mother asked the teacher to stop texting their child.

Oun then continued to send more messages to the student.

The report also found that the elementary teacher "disclosed sensitive personal and confidential information" to one of his students about another student who wasn't in his class.

It was noted that Oun would often hug several students including one of the children he was messaging on Instagram.

When making his decision, the commissioner found that "Oun showed a lack of understanding of appropriate professional boundaries."

Along with his six-month suspension, Oun must complete a Justice Institute course on professional boundaries by March 30, 2022.