Pubdate: Tue, 19 Mar 2002
Source: Canadian Online Explorer
Copyright: 2002 Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Hank Daniszewski

Teacher Fights To Be Reinstated


LONDON, Ontario -- A former London high school teacher, fired after he was 
arrested for trafficking, argues he should not lose his teaching licence 
because of an "archaic" attitude toward marijuana.

Chuck Dungey, 41, will defend himself tomorrow at a disciplinary hearing of 
the Ontario College of Teachers in Toronto.

"I was a good teacher, but made a small mistake outside my teaching 
duties," says his brief, loaded with newspaper clippings supporting legal 
tolerance of marijuana use.

Dungey was a business teacher and hockey coach at Westminster secondary 
school in November 2000 when he was arrested after police discovered 232 
marijuana plants, marijuana cookies and $1,000 cash in his London home.

Dungey had garnered media attention earlier when he told a Grade 12 student 
he couldn't pose with his hockey teammates because he had shaped his bangs 
in the form and colour of "devil horns."

The Thames Valley District school board fired Dungey in January 2001. He 
pleaded guilty to the trafficking charge in April.

In his brief to the college, Dungey said he grew the marijuana for his 
"personal use" because it was safer than buying it on the streets.

Dungey will argue he should only be reprimanded and says he is a victim of 
a hypocritical attitude toward marijuana, which he says is much less 
harmful than alcohol.

"Just as we laugh at the futility of prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s, 
so will we be laughed at by future generations for our hypocritical falsity 
in our treatment of marijuana," he says in his brief.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) launched a 
grievance of Dungey's firing.

A board document shows the union argued Dungey was a good teacher who never 
sold marijuana at school or showed up for work under the influence of 

The union also complained he was fired months before he was convicted.

Don Rowdon, president of OSSTF's Thames Valley local, said the grievance is 
still outstanding, but declined further comment.

John Thorpe, the board's human resources superintendent, said a board 
representative will be at the hearing to answer questions.

Dungey was removed from the classroom after his arrest and Thorpe said the 
board had the right to fire him before his conviction. Dungey's performance 
as a teacher was not an issue, he said.

"The Education Act allows boards to be concerned about the public behaviour 
of teachers whether or not its connected to their employment."

Denys Giguere, spokesperson for the Ontario College of Teachers, said 
Dungey faces a variety of charges, including unprofessional conduct.

His case will be heard by a panel of two teachers and a public 
representative who will likely deliver a verdict at the end of the hearing.
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