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B.C. teacher suspended after making special needs student cry

A substitute teacher has to complete a course in "creating a positive learning environment" to regain her teaching certification.
The Langley School District building in Langley, B.C.

A substitute teacher in Langley, with a history of professional misconduct toward students, has been handed a one-day suspension of her teaching credentials after making a special needs student cry, according to a ruling from the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation.

Roxann Desiree Rojas agreed with the commissioner her actions March 8, 2021 at an elementary school in Langley constituted professional misconduct.

“Rojas failed to create a positive learning environment” and “failed to treat students with dignity and respect,” noted the ruling signed Jan. 9.

Rojas was a teacher teaching on call (TTOC) for a Grade 5/6 class that day. She was instructed in the morning how Student A and Student B had modified learning schedules. Student A read at a Kindergarten level, she was informed, according to the ruling.

Throughout the day Rojas failed to properly supervise lessons, including spending time on her personal cellphone, and complained to the special education assistant (EA), by “saying in front of students how awful the class was” and in particular how awful Student B was.

Then, when Student A was singing a song that afternoon, while lined up to go outside, Rojas — described as "frustrated and impatient" — asked the student if they were in Kindergarten. The student asked Rojas how old she was and Rojas responded by asking how old the student was. This back and forth went on “a few times,” according to the ruling. The EA later reported to Rojas that Student A became upset and cried.

Rojas has a history of discipline with the commissioner. In June 2010, she was reminded not to put her hands on students “in a manner that a reasonable person would consider inappropriate.”

In 2019, she was suspended by the Langley School District for four months without pay for allegedly making direct physical contact with and yelling at students. This also landed Rojas a two-week suspension of her certificate in October 2020.

Now, Rojas is ordered to complete the Creating a Positive Learning Environment course through the Justice Institute of BC to regain her certification.

Rojas is said to have resigned from the Langley district in April 2021.

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