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Teacher reprimanded for duct-taping student's mouth shut

J.P. Moczulski/The Globe and Mail

Talking students are the bane of any teacher's classroom existence, but Margo Fowler has agreed she went too far by ordering three chatty students to duct tape their mouths shut, which they did.

The province's Teacher Regulation Branch issued an official reprimand of Ms. Fowler's actions late last month, after she admitted that her offbeat discipline amounted to "professional misconduct," according to a written branch ruling that came to light this week.

Ms. Fowler is a high school teacher at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in Vancouver, and a veteran of more than 20 years' teaching experience.

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According to the branch's decision, Ms. Fowler offered one talkative Grade 8 student the choice of going to the principal's office or having his mouth taped. The student chose the duct tape, gagging his mouth shut for about 20 minutes.

A photo of the duct-taped student appeared on Facebook.

Another Grade 8 student who was talking loudly in class was told by Ms. Fowler "to duct tape his mouth shut, which he then did," wrote branch commissioner Bruce Preston.

Finally, a student in Ms. Fowler's Grade 10 class was told by the exasperated teacher that if he did not stop talking, he would have his mouth closed by tape. "Student C did end up with duct tape over this mouth," the branch decision reported.

The incidents came to light last year.

A website that rates teachers gives Ms. Fowler good marks, with one student remarking how she keeps the class laughing.

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