SAANICH, Canada – An openly gay social justice teacher with a penchant for showing inappropriate videos to his elementary students was canned this week after a second round of complaints from parents.
Keating Elementary School grade 4-5 teacher Joe Winkler no longer works for the Saanich school district, officials announced Thursday according to the Times Colonist.
Previous reports on the news site describe Winkler as “openly gay and one of two social justice representatives for the Saanich Teachers’ Association” – the teachers union.
Winkler was initially put on paid leave after he showed a video clip in class in early April that included a “partially visible naked woman on a beach,” the news site reports.
“District officials investigated, and it was announced that Winkler would not return to his Grade 4-5 class at Keating Elementary during the 2014-15 school year. No further details about Winkler’s departure were available,” according to the site.
“He admitted to parents that, as he said, he erroneously shared an inappropriate video,” Saanich superintendent Keven Elder said when parents complained in April. “The response from parents has been one of concern, and that’s being factored into our investigation.”
John Bird, president of the Victoria Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils, said parents are supposed to be informed when a teacher shows sensitive materials in class.
“We’ve had in our district a rule for a while that, if a teacher’s going to show feature films that are not G-rated, then they had to inform the parents and the parents had an opportunity to opt their kid out,” he said.
The recent controversy is the second surrounding videos Winkler has shown his students in recent years, and the first was pretty ridiculous.
Winkler was suspended with pay for a week in 2012 after he showed a preposterous video of grown men dancing and singing on the beach in bikinis while teaching fourth-graders at Brentwood Elementary, the Times Colonist reports.
Parents of the 9- and 10-year-olds in his class flipped out, primarily about the sexualized behavior in the clip. Three men dressed as women in bikinis on the beach with another man in a speedo lip sync to a Bette Midler cover of the Hawaiian holiday song Mele Kalikimaka. The video includes groin close-ups and the man peeling and devouring a banana.
“I have no issues about him, about his sexual orientation, what he chooses to do — that doesn’t bother me at all,” parent Dionne Rogers said at the time. “What I care about is the content that was showed to my daughter, and I don’t appreciate that.”
Winkler told school officials investigating that incident that he was trying to spark a conversation among his elementary students about transgender issues, the news site reports.
“We do say, as described in our fairly recently adopted policy, that all of our classrooms are to ensure that in an age-appropriate and curricularly relevant way, students are aware of and supportive of LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] individuals and communities,” Elder told the Times Colonist after the gay beach video.