Educational assistant doesn’t learn lesson

Employee was having difficulties performing job duties but wanted transfer to another school
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 10/03/2012

This instalment of You Make the Call features an educational assistant who had difficulty fulfilling her duties.

Abi Johnson was an educational assistant (EA) at a Calgary school. She first joined the school as a lunch supervisor before becoming an EA in the 2009-2010 school year. Her main duty was to provide support over the course of each school day for a student with Down’s Syndrome. At the start of her assignment, the student’s needs and the school’s expectations were outlined for Johnson.

In December 2009, Johnson allowed the student to go into the washroom by herself, and the student crawled into a stall being used by another student, frightening her. The next month, the student was seen outside the school without Johnson at the end of the school day. The principal explained that Johnson had failed to meet expectations. Though Johnson said she always waited for students outside the washroom and the student had dashed away in the second incident while Johnson got her coat, she received a letter of reprimand. The principal noted that she had also told Johnson on other occasions to keep the student close.