By Marcia Love
The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF) has ordered Todd Anaka’s teacher’s certificate be revoked by the Ministry of Education after he was found guilty of professional misconduct involving a former student.
A penalty hearing was held for the Maple Creek man late last month after he was accused of kissing and touching a former student inappropriately. Anaka then had 30 days to appeal the decision, and the order by STF won’t be final until the appeal process has expired. According to the federation, the former teacher’s legal counsel has filed a motion of intent to appeal the decision.
The executive received a report from the Professional Ethics Committee in August, which found the teacher guilty of professional misconduct and recommended a penalty.
The investigation began after a former female student at Box Elder Hutterite Colony school, where Anaka was the principal, came forward in November 2014. She alleged Anaka kissed her and touched her inappropriately on more than one occasion several years ago after she had left the school at age 15 or 16. The incidents were alleged to have occurred at homes as well as the school.
The complainant also alleged when she was still attending the school the teacher would make comments involving sexual innuendos to her and other female students, pull students’ hair and hug or tickle female students. However, it was reported when other children were asked about this, none said he had done anything inappropriate.
Anaka denied the allegations, but could not be reached by the Maple Creek Advance Times for comment.
He took a sick leave in December 2014 and did not return to the classroom for the remainder of the 2014-15 school year. He signed an agreement with Chinook School Division to resign on June 30.
The school division would not provide further information, stating it does not comment on issues regarding students or staff.
Anaka was previously a teacher at Maple Creek Composite School. However, in the early 2000s parents complained to the school they were concerned with the teacher’s inappropriate conduct toward their daughters.
He then took on the role of principal at the Hutterite colony.
However, Anaka continued to coach girls’ basketball at the high school until about two years ago.
Anaka’s hearing is one of several that have been brought before the STF in a year where the number of professional misconduct hearings have already quadrupled those of the previous year. There have been eight hearings so far this year, while there were only two last year. In 2013, there were five hearings.
The nature of this year’s complaints varies.
Saskatoon Teachers’ Association (STA) president John McGettigan was accused of professional misconduct by staff at a school in the city after he made a Fifty Shades of Grey joke at the STA’s annual convention in February. The STF executive’s decision is pending.
Erin Osmond Kaziuk’s professional disciplinary hearing is “pending outside matters” as the substitute teacher was charged with the sexual exploitation of a Watrous high school student. She began a sexual relationship with the then-16-year-old boy shortly after her substitute teaching contract was up in February 2013. She was found not guilty.
STF reported the “vast majority of teachers demonstrate daily their commitment to the safety and well-being of students and demonstrate high standards of conduct and care,” but it is the rare cases when they do not that there are processes in place to address these actions.
According to an STF spokesperson, the number of hearings held each year does not necessarily mean there has been a sudden increase in incidents or allegations involving teachers that year. The process may be delayed due to lengthy criminal cases, which delayed one hearing for several years until it was dealt with last year.
The federation added increased public awareness of the STF’s complaint process in the past two years and the legislated requirement for school divisions to report complaints of professional misconduct or incompetence as of 2011 has resulted in more reports.