A Chilliwack teacher has been given a one-month suspension after crossing personal boundaries with two students.
Sheldon Lyle Nickel accepted the decision from the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation, admitting that his actions were inappropriate.
Nickel was working as a secondary school teacher in August of 2020 when a youth care worker made a complaint about him.
The complaint alleged that in 2019, when a Grade 11 youth identified as Student A was going through a tough time, Nickel gave that student a hug and kiss on the forehead, and prior to the start of their Grade 12 year, Nickel met Student A and Student B for lunch and gave each of them a hug afterwards.
When Student A was in Grade 12, Nickel reportedly revealed personal problems, sent the student several text messages and called the student, crying, after he had been drinking.
When Student B was in Grade 12, Nickel allegedly sent several text messages, saying he loved and missed Student B. According to the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation summary, Nickel drove Student B alone in his car, even though he had been warned by the school’s principal that he shouldn’t.
Some of the text messages were sent while Nickel was on personal leave.
Nickel was issued a ‘letter of expectation’ in November of 2019 recommending he keep his interactions with students professional, only provide transportation to students with another staff member in the vehicle and maintain respect and dignity in verbal interactions with students.
Nickel was later issued a letter of discipline,’ and suspended for seven days without pay by the Chilliwack School District.
He was required to complete a course called Reinforcing Respectful Professional Boundaries, which he finished in 2021.
Nickel’s current suspension falls under sections 53 and 64(b) of the Teachers Act.
It was determined that he shared inappropriate information about himself with students and on occasion failed to respect their physical space, he engaged in inappropriate electronic communication with students and he had been previously warned about his inappropriate interactions with students.
In accepting the suspension, Nickel admitted that his conduct constitutes professional misconduct and conduct unbecoming.