The Kamloops-Thompson school district has filed for an appeal after an arbitrator ruled a teacher who was fired after he kissed a former student must be reinstated.
Brett Edward Wasylik, who taught at Brock Middle School, was dismissed on Aug. 23, 2019 for lying during an internal investigation into the 17-year-old female student’s sexual misconduct complaint, which related to an incident that took place while she was working a shift at a local restaurant on Nov. 12, 2016.
Wasylik denied allegations of inappropriate comments and contact toward the student when confronted by the school district in 2016, but later admitted to some of them in a 2019 consent resolution agreement with the Teacher Regulation Branch.
In that document, Wasylik confessed to telling his former student she was looking “f—ing hot,” showing her a shirtless photo of himself on his cellphone and, at the end of her shift, insisting on walking her to her car, where he then kissed her neck. The student drove away, upset by Wasylik’s behaviour.
In 2016, after the girl’s parents reported the misconduct, an investigator questioned both individuals, who gave conflicting accounts.
The student said Wasylik had approached her several times during her shift, hugged her, placed his hands on her lower back and kissed her on the neck. She said he made comments such as “You’re so hot; just like you were in Grade 9” and that he also asked her to have a drink with him after her shift. She said when she advised that she was only 17, Wasylik allegedly responded, “Can you pretend you are 30 tonight?”
Wasylik told the investigator he had minimal interaction with his former student. He admitted to insisting on walking her to her car, but to discuss coaching. Wasylik denied calling his former student “hot,” but recalled saying she was “gorgeous.” He also denied suggesting they get a drink, grabbing her waist and kissing her neck.
The district found it more likely the student was telling the truth, leading to Wasylik’s suspension, which was originally set at five days, but reduced to three days when his union (the Kamloops-Thompson TEacher's Association) filed a grievance.
On Dec. 6, 2016, the school district reported the incident to the Commissioner for Teacher Regulation Branch and, after learning of Wasylik’s admissions in the 2019 consent resolution, fired him for his dishonesty, noting the seriousness of the allegations and that the district had no confidence in his trustworthiness as a teacher.
The firing came a couple of weeks after multiple news stories reporting on the consent resolution were published.
Arbitrator Ken Saunders handed down the decision to reinstate Wasylik this past August, siding with the Kamloops-Thompson Teachers’ Associationon on its wrongful dismissal claim.
Saunders found that terminating Wasylik’s employment violated the double jeopardy rule of arbitration law that states an employer may not impose more than one penalty for the same offence. He found Wasylik’s dishonesty in 2016 to be an integral part of the initial disciplinary action, not a separate offence.
In a statement issued this week, the school district said the decision has been appealed by its labour relations board, but no decision has yet been rendered.
The school district added that Wasylik is not currently teaching.
“SD73 is committed to ensuring the safety and welfare of students and to ensuring that the public has confidence in the integrity of our teachers and staff,” the district’s statement read.