Skip to content

Cowichan Valley teacher suspended after student injured playing game

Shannon Steininger was teaching a Grade 8 and 9 class in June 2022 when the injury happened
Cowichan Valley School District office in Duncan. VIA GOOGLE MAPS

A Cowichan Valley PE teacher will serve a four-day suspension after one his students broke a shoulder blade while playing a game the class invented.

Shannon Steininger was teaching a Grade 8 and 9 class in June 2022 when the injury happened, according to a consent resolution agreement released Tuesday by the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation.

As part of a year-end assignment, students in Steininger’s class were asked to develop a game using skills learned throughout the year. The game was a combination of ultimate Frisbee and touch football and allowed for tackling.

Steininger was unaware of the rules the students had created, according to the resolution agreement, and he had to stop the first game on June 6 because the students “were playing too roughly.”

Two days later, Steininger’s class played the game again. This time, students were warned three times about rough play and the game was ultimately stopped due to safety concerns as players grew increasingly aggressive. One student’s shirt was ripped.

Another teacher told Steininger that the game wasn’t safe to play and rules needed to be revised.

On June 10, Steininger accompanied his students, as well as a teacher on call and students from another class to a park to play the game again.

Physical contact again started escalating. Two other adults present, including the teacher on call, told Steininger he needed to intervene due to the mounting safety concerns.

The resolution agreement said Steininger intervened once to tell students that the game would be stopped if they continued to engage in physical contact. The game continued, but was finally stopped after a student grabbed another around the knees, lifting him off the ground and then dropping him.

The student suffered a fractured scapula.

On July 4, the Cowichan Valley School District issued Steininger a letter of discipline and suspended him for one day without pay. He served the suspension on Sept. 14.

However, the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation reviewed the case in late November last year and decided that Steininger should have his teaching certificate suspended for four days.

“Despite the concerns expressed by other adults, including the teacher on call, about the escalating physicality of the game, Steininger did not respond in a timely or effective manner so as to prevent harm to students,” said the consent resolution agreement. “Steininger failed to maintain a safe and positive learning environment for his students.”

Steininger will serve his suspension from Nov. 14 to 17.

[email protected]