A B.C. teacher won’t be back in the classroom for at least 10 years after an investigation discovered he was inappropriately communicating with multiple students, including pursuing romantic relationships with two immediately after they graduated.
Joseph James Hizon Arnesto taught grades 7 to 12 at an independent B.C. school up until the summer of 2020. The name of the school, as well as the names of the students he communicated with, are omitted from the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation’s April 19 decision, to protect the students’ identities.
In Arnesto’s time at the school, the commissioner found he breached professional boundaries with at least four students.
In the first instance, he met with a Grade 12 student outside of school hours for coffee to discuss personal matters. Arnesto also exchanged messages with the student over text, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, according to the commissioner. Soon after the student graduated, Arnesto told them he wanted to pursue a romantic relationship.
He did something similar with a student in Grade 8, the commissioner found. Over their four years at the school, Arnesto consistently messaged the student over social media platforms and text, asking personal questions about their life and family. Less than one week after the student graduated, Arnesto indicated interest in a romantic relationship, according to the commissioner.
The third student was in Grade 10 when Arnesto started texting them. The commissioner found some messages between them related to school work, but that they often involved unrelated topics, including the student’s personal and romantic life.
The final student the commissioner found Arnesto had a private conversation with was another one in Grade 8.
The school’s principal issued Arnesto a verbal and written warning on two separate occasions after some of the communication was brought to the administration’s attention. The school didn’t renew Arnesto’s contract for the 2021/2022 school year and on July 16, 2020, the school’s superintendent reported Arnesto to the regulation branch.
The commissioner published their decision on April 19, cancelling Arnesto’s certificate of qualification and banning him from applying for a new one for 10 years.