Third Simcoe Muskoka Catholic staffer charged in EQAO test tampering

SIMCOE-MUSKOKA — A third school board employee is facing professional misconduct charges in a related incident.

Gregory Quinn is facing four counts of professional misconduct under the Ontario College of Teachers Act. College documents state Quinn failed to maintain the standards of the profession, failed to comply with the Education Act, committed acts that are regarded as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional and engaged in conduct unbecoming.

A disciplinary committee of the Ontario College of Teachers is looking into allegations that on or about March 31, 2016, while employed by the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, Quinn inappropriately administered the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test, known as the OSSLT, at an unidentified high school within the board. At the time, Quinn was employed as a teacher at the school.

Already facing misconduct charges in this case are Christina Vellinga and Andrew Burke, the principal and acting vice-principal respectively. Each face five counts of professional misconduct.

For her involvement in the administering of the test, Vellinga was suspended for 20 days without pay and was further demoted to the position of vice-principal, while Burke was suspended for a total of 10 days without pay.

The test is administered annually by the Education Quality and Accountability Office, known as EQAO, to Grade 10 students. Either the test or the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course is an Ontario secondary school graduation requirement.

It is alleged that Quinn reviewed the test booklets after the administration of the test to identify incomplete booklets and returned the incomplete test booklets to the principal.

College documents state that Quinn was aware that the incomplete test booklets were being returned to students in order for them to complete parts of the test after the allotted time period had concluded. The school board conducted an investigation and determined that 21 students were called back to the school for this purpose. EQAO also conducted an investigation and confirmed irregularities during the March 2016 administration of the test at the school. As a result, EQAO advised the board at the end of May 2016, that the school’s results could not be reliably reported and it would be withholding the school’s 2015-2016 test results.

On June 13, 2016, the board suspended Quinn for five days without pay for his involvement in the administration of the test.

The board will not give out any personnel information without permission from the person in question. However, news reports from October of 2015 and June of 2016 show Vellinga and Burke working at Holy Trinity Catholic School in Bradford. The school board website lists Vellinga as the vice-principal at St. Paul’s Catholic School in Alliston.

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