A British Columbia teacher has been fired and banned from the profession for five years after sending “sexually explicit photos” to a former student.
Curtis Alexandro Vizza admitted that his actions constitute professional misconduct in a consent agreement he signed with the BC Commissioner for Teacher Regulation in October.
According to the Commissioner’s report, Vizza began exchanging “increasingly sexualized” messages with the former student – referred to only as “Student A” – over Snapchat in December 2020.
The student, who is implied to be female, had graduated in June 2019 from the Nanaimo secondary school where Vizza taught her PE.
The Snapchat messages “included Vizza sending sexually explicit photos of himself to Student A,” the report adds.
“After that evening [in December 2020], Vizza and Student A exchanged further messages which included vulgar and sexualized messages sent by Vizza as well as a photograph of his backside and shirtless torso.”
The report also explains that there was a “noted pattern” of female students “hanging out” in Vizza’s classroom.
“Some of these students would confide in Vizza about personal matters, including health, fitness, anxiety, sex, pregnancy scares, drugs, relationships, and problems in general.
“Vizza provided these students with advice, although he was not a counsellor. Many of the female students would come to Vizza’s classroom in an emotional state, some in tears. Some of these students came to view Vizza as a friend.”
Student A, the Commissioner’s report adds, “viewed Vizza as a stable person in whom Student A could confide.”
Following the exchange of Snapchat messages, in June 2021, Vizza was investigated by his school district.
He wrote a letter apologizing to Student A in the same month, but in November he was fired from his job.
The following month, the Commissioner opened an investigation into his behaviour.
In the consent agreement released this week, the Commissioner says Vizza will be banned from teaching at any level for five years.
“Vizza’s conduct showed a lack of understanding of appropriate professional boundaries,” the watchdog explained.
“Vizza failed to maintain appropriate professional boundaries in several different ways. Vizza engaged in inappropriate communication of a sexual nature with a former student.”