Vancouver School Board

Vancouver School Board

December 15, 2006 17:56 ET

Statement from the Vancouver School Board Concerning the Trial and Verdict for Former Teacher, Tom Ellison

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - Dec. 15, 2006) - The Vancouver School Board respects the decision of the court that finds former teacher Tom Ellison guilty on five counts of criminal acts towards young women.

The conduct of Mr. Ellison, as described in the court judgment, is not, and never has been in any way acceptable conduct on the part of teachers or any other employees entrusted with the safety and well-being of young people.

The first and foremost priority for this Board and school district, as always, is to safeguard the well-being of every student as a young person in its care, and subject to the influence of its employees. While continuing to provide a safe and caring environment for its students, the Vancouver School Board is conducting a full, independent review of all its policies and procedures concerning student safety and well-being.

The Board has appointed lawyer Don Avison to conduct the review. Mr. Avison is President of the University Presidents' Council of BC representing the interests of B.C.'s six public universities. He previously held positions as Deputy Minister in the BC Education Ministry, Deputy Minister of Justice with the government of the Northwest Territories and with the Federal Justice Ministry.

The terms of reference for the review include:

- Review the record and circumstances associated with the operation and supervision of the former Quest Outdoor Education Program

- Gather and utilize information regarding the operation and supervision of the Quest program as a background for current VSB policies and procedures

- Review and evaluate current policies and procedures governing the operation and supervision of outdoor education programs and field studies

- Review and evaluate current policies and procedures governing standards of conduct for employees, strategies for communicating and disseminating policies and procedures to all district employees and allegations of employee misconduct

- Make recommendations on best practices and, where appropriate, make recommendations for change to current policies and practices

Mr. Avison has been asked to submit a written report to the Vancouver School Board by February 28, 2007.

Chris Kelly, Superintendent of Schools

Vancouver School Board (District No. 39)

Contact Information

  • Peak Communicators Ltd.
    Alyn Edwards
    (604) 908-7231