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Burnaby teacher disciplined for shaving student's head

Michael John Rhodes failed to ask parents' permission before obliging Grade 6 student's request
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A Burnaby teacher was disciplined last year for shaving a Grade 6 student's head without parental permission.

If you’re a teacher and you’re going to shave one of your Grade 6 students' heads, you’d better make sure you’ve got permission – and not just from the kid.

That’s a lesson one substitute teacher in Burnaby learned the hard way last year.

The teacher, Michael John Rhodes, was teaching a Grade 6/7 class in the school district, when a Grade 6 student told him he wanted to have a shaved head for basketball season, according to a recent consent resolution agreement published by B.C.’s Teacher Regulation Branch.

The student said he had hair clippers at home and asked Rhodes if he would shave his head for him, and Rhodes agreed, according to the agreement.

On Jan. 27, 2020, the student came to school with the clippers.

“When asked if (his) parents knew that (he) had brought the clippers to the school, and had given (him) permission, (he) answered ‘Yes,’” stated the agreement.

So, at recess, without permission from the student’s parents or school administrators, Rhodes proceeded to shave the student’s hair in front of some of his classmates, according to the agreement.

The school district sanctioned Rhodes with a discipline letter on Feb. 10, 2020.

He was required to apologize to the student and his parents, complete the Mindful Educator, Beyond Expertise and Technique course at the Justice Institute and only sub in high schools until the course was complete.

Teacher Regulation Branch Commissioner Howard Kushner determined Rhodes’s shaving of the student’s head without parental permission “showed a lack of understanding of professional boundaries,” according to the agreement.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor
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