Students at St. John Catholic High School in Perth have organized a planned walkout for Tuesday following reports of a party held for a now-convicted former teacher at the school.
The former teacher, Jeff Peters, pleaded guilty on April 29 to sexual assault of one student and sexual exploitation of a second student. Peters, who was charged in 2019 and was still a teacher at the time of the offences, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.
Reports have been circulating on social media of a party hosted by two teachers at St. John’s prior to Peters pleading guilty. The alleged party was billed as a “going away party,” according to multiple people who have spoken to The Recorder and Times.
The alleged party, held at a cottage in April, is alleged to have had around eight to 10 people in attendance, said one source. None of the sources who spoke to The Recorder and Times claimed to have first-hand knowledge of the alleged party.
Because of the reported teacher-hosted party, students attending the Perth school began circulating posts online about a walkout – or “logout” due to the nature of classes being virtual – in protest of alleged teacher involvement.
The posts read in part: “By walking out you are showing support for the victims of Jeff Peters as well as protesting the disgusting behavior of the teachers who threw and attended the ‘going away party’ for Mr. Peters.”
In a statement to The Recorder and Times, the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario said in part: “The Board takes seriously its responsibility to care for the students in its schools and remains committed to ensuring a safe learning environment for all.”
The statement said the board suspended Peters immediately once it became aware he broke the board’s proper conduct guidelines between teacher and student. Following a review, the board says Peters was terminated.
Although questions were raised to the board about the reports of a teacher-hosted party, the board said it has referred the matter to the Ontario College of Teachers for review and would consider it inappropriate to make any further comment.
This is a developing story; please check this page for updates.