December 8, 2019

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Winnipeg teacher suspended for online attacks against indigenous people back at work

Teacher Brad Badiuk appears to be back at work, nine months after a furor broke over his Facebook postings about indigenous people.

Kelvin High School’s website lists Badiuk as an electronics teacher for the 2015-16 school year.

Brad Badiuk.

FACEBOOK PHOTO

Brad Badiuk.

But no one was talking about it Tuesday: not Badiuk; not the Winnipeg School Division, which had suspended him without pay; and not Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Derek Nepinak, who had sued Badiuk over the incendiary comments the veteran Kelvin High teacher published on Facebook last winter.

The division has never identified Badiuk by name, even as the controversy raged after his Facebook postings were brought to the chief’s attention last December.

The division initially said last winter it had suspended with pay an unidentified teacher at an unnamed school pending an investigation. It later said that teacher was suspended without pay, before refusing to discuss the matter in any way for the past few months.

The division issued a terse statement Tuesday, in which it did not name Badiuk: "WSD has taken this matter very seriously throughout the investigation and recognizes the importance of respect and dignity of others in our division.

"This incident reinforces our commitment to provide a safe and inclusive working and learning environment for all of our students and our staff. All WSD staff have the right to confidentiality, therefore, we have no further information to share on this issue at this time," the division said.

On Tuesday, Nepinak didn’t respond to interview requests, as he has done since suing Badiuk last winter. The lawsuit made no mention that Badiuk is a teacher.

Badiuk never filed a statement of defence. Court officials said it is not necessary to file a statement of defence if the two parties have agreed to discuss the matter outside the court system.

Badiuk has not given interviews about the matter, though requests sent to his WSD email account do not bounce back as undeliverable.

School board chairman Mark Wasyliw said last winter that discipline imposed on the unnamed teacher could go "from sensitivity training all the way to loss of employment."

While refusing to say if it was representing Badiuk, the Manitoba Teachers’ Society has said what teachers do on their own time is not a protection against an employer imposing discipline.

Anything that brings into question a teacher’s judgment or suitability to teach, or brings the employer into disrepute "is fair game. It’s not a protection for a professional — professionals are held to a higher standard," former MTS president Paul Olson had said at the time the controversy raged.

Badiuk’s Facebook page disappeared after the assembly raised the alarm last December.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

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