Photo: Facebook Ryan Ferguson crossed the line with students, according to the province’s teaching commissioner

Merritt teacher who admitted having “crush” on student faces one-month suspension

Sexually explicit social media message sent after graduation

A Merritt high school teacher who admitted being infatuated with a student, and who sent a sexually explicit message to a just-graduated young woman last summer, will have his teaching certificate suspended for one month under the Teachers Act.

Ryan Ferguson, who taught Grade 12 English in 2015 and 2016 at Merritt Secondary School, was also suspended for three days last year by the Nicola Similkameen School District.

Ferguson reached out over social media to one of his English students in the spring of 2016, according to a Consent Resolution Agreement released by the British Columbia Commission for Teacher Regulation.

“Ferguson sent Student A a private Facebook message, telling her that he had a crush on her friend, Student B. Ferguson told student A that he had to keep his distance from Student B, but was concerned that comments he had made on Student B’s report card might upset her. He wanted Student A to tell Student B that he had not intended to be mean to her,” the agreement reads.

A third student, Student C, felt so uncomfortable with Ferguson that after graduating last June she decided not to return to the school for academic upgrading.

The consent resolution document states that Ferguson periodically complimented this student on her looks, and shared a personal story during his library block period that had sexual connotations.

“Ferguson had contact with students on social media shortly after they graduated. One of the students with whom he had contact was Student C.

“In the summer of 2016, Ferguson sent Student C a message on Snapchat which read: “I usually judge how much someone loves me by the amount of time they spend [description of sexual behavior].”

“He went on to write: “Oh right. You’re not expecting me to still treat you like a student are you? That’s not something I would say to a student,” the agreement states.

Ferguson later invited the graduate, and her friend, to his home.

“Ferguson knew that Student C was under the legal drinking age at the time and wrote: “I’m on the reserve side of the river, so no one enforces the drinking age.”

Ferguson voluntarily entered into the Consent Resolution Agreement August 25, 2017 and by doing so admitted to the stated facts.

He will be suspended from teaching from October 1, 2017 to November 1, 2017.

He is also required to complete the course: “Reinforcing Respectful Professional Boundaries” through the Justice Institute.

Under order from the school district, Ferguson also completed boundaries training through the Okanagan Labour Relations Council this spring.

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