AJAs 2018 Finalists


Date Aired or Published July 9, 2018
Media outlet where first aired or published: The Daily Gleaner newspaper
Name of Program:
If co-produced, list partner:
Location: Fredericton, New Brunswick
List awards, grants:
Running time (TV/Radio):

Short explanation of the story and how it developed:

When the Gleaner received a tip about a teacher who allegedly threatened to kill a student one year ago, it got me wondering – what are New Brunswickers allowed to know about teachers who harm students? The answer: little to nothing. Throughout the past year, I’ve filed around a dozen right-to-information requests to school districts and the Department of Education - and numerous complaints to the integrity commissioner when information was withheld - I’ve interviewed multiple education experts, privacy experts and concerned parents, and I’ve written a series of articles about the secret investigations into teachers accused of abuse or misconduct, the secret discipline they face and the secret shuffling of teachers between schools after an allegation is founded. My reporting revealed the number of teachers investigated for abuse or misconduct involving students is on the rise, as is the number of founded cases following investigations, the cost to taxpayers for one year’s worth of investigations is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, how school districts interpret the Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act in releasing information about teacher discipline varies wildly, and how school districts conduct investigations also varies district-to-district. My articles prompted calls from parents and experts for greater transparency in how teacher discipline is handled and calls from the teachers’ union for greater consistency in how investigations are carried out. The union also privately called for a review of Policy 701, a fact I uncovered through an right-to-information request and reported as a result. In November, the newly-elected Progressive Conservative government announced in its throne speech that it would review Policy 701, the policy governing teacher discipline. The education minister credited my work for bringing issues related to the policy to light. New Brunswick parents deserve to know what’s going on behind closed doors in their children’s schools, particularly when it involves the safety of students. Without my dogged investigative work on this file, the issue of secret teacher investigations would have remained just that - secret. Thank you for your consideration of my submission.

Resources of the newsroom (money and time) available to complete the story:

Over the past year, I have spent hundreds of hours researching teacher misconduct in N.B. and across Canada, interviewing education and privacy experts, reporting on teacher misconduct, filing RTIs and writing stories about Policy 701 teacher misconduct investigations. I generate my story ideas and nearly every story is based strictly on my own reporting (without help from other reporters).

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