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Abbotsford teacher reprimanded for showing video with profanity and violence

Three-day suspension issued; teacher failed to review film beforehand
(Black Press Media files)

An Abbotsford teacher has been reprimanded by the province’s Teacher Regulation Branch (TRB) after showing Grade 7 students a video that used profanity and violence.

A decision posted online on Sept. 14 indicates that Utpala Acharya received a three-day suspension without pay following an incident that occurred in January 2019.

According to the written “consent resolution agreement,” Acharya shared a video to at least two Grade 7 classes that was a variant of the classic story by Shel Silverstein called The Tree with Healthy Boundaries.

The original story is about a relationship between a tree and a boy. The tree helps the boy through his life by providing apples to sell and branches with which to build a home.

RELATED: B.C. teacher gets 1 day suspension after ‘aggressively’ throwing dumbbell at student

In the version by Chris McCamic shown by Acharya, the tree kills the boy when he asks for more branches.

“In the video, the tree called the boy a motherf—, then ‘brought her remaining branches down on the boy with full force, snapping his spine in several places, causing massive internal bleeding and ensuring him a swift death,’ ” the TRB documents state.

“The tree is sad because she ‘remembered many good times with the boy, and did not like doing what she had just done,’ but ‘she understood that it was a necessary act of self-defence,’ flowing from her ‘healthy boundaries.’ ”

The TRB states that the video shown by Acharya was “not age-appropriate nor an appropriate learning resource.”

The beginning of the video includes a warning for “naughty word” and “graphic violence,” the board stated.

“The video was contrary to the expectation set out in the student Code of Conduct that students resolve conflict without physical intimidation or violence.”

The TRB said Acharya did not give parents any notice that she intended to show a video with profanity and violence nor did she review the video before showing it.

The suspension was issued by the school district in June 2019, but the consent resolution agreement with the TRB was not signed by Acharya until Aug. 24, 2021.

RELATED: Burnaby teacher disciplined for giving Grade 6 student a requested buzz cut

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Vikki Hopes

About the Author: Vikki Hopes

I have been a journalist for almost 40 years, and have been at the Abbotsford News since 1991.
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