Duc-Hung Tran started in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district in 2000. (THE NEWS/files)

B.C. teacher who hugged student in storage room to keep teaching certificate

Duc-Hung Tran was working in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district at time

A teacher who hugged a student in a school storage room and told her he was attracted to her will not have his teaching certificate taken away.

An online decision was recently posted after the Teacher Regulation Branch looked into the actions of Duc-Hung Tran, a secondary school teacher in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district.

READ MORE: Teacher hugged student, said he was attracted to her

Last April, the branch found Tran’s actions in 2014 amounted to professional misconduct.

He had told a female Grade 11 student in his class to follow him into a storage room to speak privately. He closed the door and hugged her and said words to the effect that he was attracted to her.

”He told her not to tell anyone what he had done,” the decision reads.

A day later, Tran asked the school district if he could take a personal leave, saying he felt he was not able to “give it all to the kids” and with “declining enrollment, he may help to save a colleague.” He did not mention his interaction with the student.

He was suspended with pay on Feb. 5, 2014, and on Nov. 5, 2014. Trustees decided to continue his suspension, but without pay, allowing him to access medical leave benefits.

READ MORE: Lower Mainland teacher disciplined for calling students ‘dumb ass’

An independent investigator hired by the district gave Tran a further suspension without pay for six weeks to start when he returned from medical leave.

Following the independent investigation, Tran was transferred to another school. He had to complete a course on boundaries, as well as continue treatment for major depressive disorder, including counselling, and was to be monitored by administrators.

Submissions to the branch regarding penalty, publication and costs were made in writing by Jan. 2, 2019.

A three-person panel concluded Tran is unlikely to re-offend, as he has no history of misconduct, had already been disciplined and faced personal shame, and acknowledged his mistake.

READ MORE: Teacher reprimanded after telling kids about deaths, Pickton murders

Although the incident was “serious and concerning,” it was a single occurrence, the report reads, and when Tran recognized his inappropriate behaviour, he immediately removed himself from the situation by taking personal leave.

“As such, we do not believe that cancellation of his certificate is necessary for the protection of the public or as a specific or general deterrence. Given he has already served a significant suspension, we find that a further suspension would serve no purpose, and would likely be disruptive to his current students.”

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