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More discipline for Coquitlam teacher who brought snake to school

Middle school teacher Arthur Owen Sanderson was suspended for two days in December 2023 and is also ordered to take counselling sessions.
A stock photo of a ball python.

A Coquitlam middle school teacher was suspended for two days last month for bringing a python to school as part of his Halloween costume three years ago.

In a decision released last Tuesday, Jan. 9, by the BC Commissioner for Teacher Regulation, Arthur Owen Sanderson was reprimanded in 2022 for his actions that scared some students; as a result, he entered into a consent resolution agreement.

Last year, the commissioner further considered the case and lifted Sanderson’s certificate of qualification on Dec. 14 and 15, 2023.

Commissioner Ana R. Mohammed also ordered Sanderson take the Reinforcing Respectful Professional Boundaries course at the Justice Institute of BC by Aug. 30, 2024.

As well, Sanderson must complete six counselling sessions to learn appropriate boundaries and communications with students; following those sessions, he is to answer three reflective questions posed by the commissioner to ensure he meets teaching standards.

“A breach by Sanderson of any term in this agreement may constitute professional misconduct, which may be the subject of separate discipline proceedings,” Mohammed wrote in a statement signed Dec. 4, 2023.

The reprimands come after School District 43 (SD43) issued Sanderson a letter of discipline and suspended him for four days without pay in 2022 in relation to the Halloween event.

Still, it’s not the first time Sanderson has come to the district’s and commissioner’s attention.

In 2015, he was suspended without pay for three days for allegedly not properly supervising his students and, in 2021, he was suspended for a day without pay for allegedly not following district COVID-19 protocols.

As well, in September 2022, Sanderson was cited for the following incidents:

  • he made a student do 10 push-ups in front of his class after the student touched a pencil in a jar on Sanderson’s desk
  • he told a student that if he fixed his lock, the student would have to do five push-ups
  • he told a student that the way they were sitting on a counter was distracting
  • he took a student in the hallway to discuss a Playboy logo on the student’s shirt, which embarrassed the student
  • he referred to students in his class as “handsome,” “beautiful” and “gorgeous”; students were uncomfortable when he told them he “loved them all”

Discipline outcomes for public educators are published publicly on the Government of B.C. website.