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Anti-vax outburst lands ex-northwest B.C. teacher in hot water

Secondary teacher who stormed cafeteria vaccine clinic no longer employed by school district
Coast Mountains School District 82 Superintendent of Schools Aaron Callaghan confirmed the teacher is no longer employed with SD82. (File photo)

A northwest B.C. teacher who made angry anti-vaccine fuelled outbursts during a vaccination clinic at the New Hazelton secondary school where he worked is no longer employed by Coast Mountains School District 82.

Patrick James Nelson was suspended without pay for two weeks last March and had agreed to complete courses offered by the B.C. Justice Institute, according to a consent resolution agreement from the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation that Nelson signed from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

In October of 2021 Nelson left the class he was teaching unattended and made his way to the Hazelton Secondary School cafeteria where the the district and Northern Health had set up a Covid-19 vaccination clinic.

“Students who were legally able to make decisions for themselves were encouraged to attend the clinic in order to get vaccinated,” reads the resolution agreement.

Nelson “angrily interrupted” the clinic with students present, claiming the vaccines were “experimental, dangerous, and poisonous and should not be used.”

He then confronted a nurse who was trying to calm him down and proceeded to yell and point his finger in the nurse’s face, coming within eight to 10 centimeters of staff while not properly wearing a mask.

During the incident Nelson claimed Northern Health staff were unethical in how they presented information on the vaccines, how they were offering the vaccines to students and that health authority staff “should be ashamed of themselves”.

“Nelson’s tone and anger were such that a school staff member called for assistance from the school’s administration. Some students were upset and had to be removed from the cafeteria,” the resolution reads.

Nelson was found to have “failed to model appropriate behaviour expected of an educator.”

Aaron Callaghan, who became SD82 superintendent last August, said that by all accounts what happened “was an unfortunate incident for those staff, students and healthcare providers who were witness to the outburst.

“The teacher is no longer employed by Coast Mountains School District.”

Nelson admitted to professional misconduct and was required to provide a written apology to the health authority personnel and to attend a meeting with affected students and staff at the school.

He was also directed to complete the Justice Institute’s Reinforcing Respectful Professional Boundaries and Human Relations course.

The school district had previously issued a letter of discipline to Nelson in 2019, when he swore in front of his class in frustration.

At the time, Nelson was directed to complete the B.C. Teachers’ Federation Boundaries Workshop and to discuss behaviour management strategies with his principal on a bi-weekly basis for one semester.


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