TORONTO — A female teacher at Pickering College, a prestigious private co-ed school in Newmarket, Ont., had an inappropriate relationship with two male students, one that turned sexual and appears to have lasted for 18 months.
Avery Jean Wilson, who was immediately fired, was found guilty of professional misconduct by a discipline committee of the Ontario College of Teachers on Dec. 7.
The decision, publicly posted on the College website this week, notes that Wilson “engaged in acts of professional misconduct as alleged” with the two boys, identified as Student 1 and 2.
Details of the allegations were contained in a formal Notice of Hearing dated May 15 last year. The notice says that the relationship with Student 1 began in September of 2015, when he would have been in Grade 11, and saw the two go camping alone together and Wilson allow the boy “to take a photograph of her naked body from her chin to her waist.”
Former teacher Avery Wilson
The relationship, according to the notice, became an overtly “sexual relationship” in May that year and endured until February of 2017 — a total of a year and a half.
This is despite the fact that both the teacher and the boy lived on campus, Wilson as one of 10 resident staff, the boy as an international boarding student.
The school, according to a statement given the National Post on Friday by headmaster Peter Sturrup, strongly disputes the length of the relationship and says its own investigation shows the two were involved only about “one month prior” to the boy’s graduation.
He offered no explanation for the discrepancy.
In a letter sent to parents late Friday, alerting them to the Post story, Sturrup said, “We were appalled by this contemptible conduct… we acknowledge the impact this had on our students and school community. It is not reflective of our school values or anything that we teach or in which we believe.”
The conduct, however long it went on, only came to light on Feb. 7, 2017, when Student 2 confided in a therapist who works at the school about his relationship with Wilson — a much shorter one of about two months, according to the College document.
The therapist informed the school and immediately called York Regional Police, who investigated but laid no criminal charges, the Post confirmed Friday.
Wilson was fired Feb. 9, the same date the school notified the College.
According to the Notice of Hearing, Wilson had an “inappropriate personal relationship with Student 2” from November of 2016 to February of 2017 involving inappropriate social media communication and “inappropriate physical and/or sexual contact.”
In the course of the relationship, the two held hands, hugged and kissed.
On Feb. 13, the headmaster notified parents in a letter that “we became aware of allegations of inappropriate conduct by one of our staff members” and were taking them “very seriously.” There was no mention of the sexual nature of the allegations or of any details for “reasons of privacy and confidentiality,” Sturrup explained.
Parents with questions were urged to contact him directly.
Sturrup said …read more