Canada
Ontario teacher who made girl eat banana from garbage suspended

PARENT JORDAN STEWART AND HER MOTHER AND LAWYER, ANN MARIE STEWART

Credits: MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER/QMI AGENCY

MONTE SONNENBERG | QMI AGENCY

SIMCOE, Ont. - An Ontario teacher accused of making an eight-year-old girl eat food that had been thrown in the garbage is off the job until further notice.

A spokesperson for at Ecole Sainte Marie, a French-language school in Simcoe, said Renee Luise Oettershagen "will not be present at the school" pending "resolution of the matter, be it disciplinary or other."

"The (school board) is of the opinion that the teacher's actions reflect poor judgment on her part," Mikale-Andree Joly, spokesperson for the French-language school board in Toronto, said in an e-mail. "Although the teacher has apologized, her behaviour is unacceptable and does not meet (the board's) standards in terms of professional ethics as expected from all of its teaching staff. The (board) regrets this incident has taken place and sends its sincere apologies to (the girl) and her family."

Parents Jordan Stewart and David Tank, of Port Dover, were alarmed last week when they learned that Oettershagen, a Grade 3 substitute teacher, retrieved an aging banana from the trash can and made their eight-year-old daughter eat it in front of the class. The girl said the banana was "rotten."

Oettershagen reportedly did the same thing on other occasions with sandwiches the girl had thrown out.

The sandwiches were part of the school's occasional lunch program. The girl threw hers out because she didn't like lettuce.

The girl's family said Oettershagen retrieved the sandwiches, removed the lettuce, and made the eight-year-old eat them in front of the class, instructing food should not be wasted.

Oettershagen also faces separate allegations of "professional misconduct" and incompetence at another school board. No date has been set for an Ontario College of Teachers hearing.

Stewart said a board official told her they were not aware of the previous allegations when she was hired in Simcoe.

Repeated attempts to contact Oettershagen were not successful.


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