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B.C. educator agrees to 10-year ban for crossing teacher-student boundaries

Joseph James Hizon Arnesto exchanged messages with students, discussing their personal and romantic lives.

A B.C. teacher will not be returning to an independent school following multiple incidences of professional misconduct.

Joseph James Hizon Arnesto was teaching grades 7 to 12, according to a consent resolution agreement posted by the Commissioner for Teacher Regulation on Tuesday. 

During his time at the school, Arnesto breached professional boundaries with four students, exchanging messages or chatting on social media about the students’ personal and romantic lives.

At the time of the messaging, the students were in Grade 12 (Student A), Grade 8 (Student B), Grade 10 (Student C) and Grade 8 (Student D).

When Student A graduated from high school, Arnesto communicated that he wanted to pursue a romantic relationship, the agreement says.

Arnesto continued to text with the Student B over four years. When the student entered the 10th grade, the school principal told the educator to avoid non-school-related matters with students. Then, less than a week before the student would graduate from high school, Arnesto told the student that he wanted to pursue a romantic relationship with them.

With Student C, Arnesto would text the student about a mix of school-related and personal topics, like their romantic life.

The agreement notes Arnesto received a written warning from the principal after he was found engaging in a private conversation with Student D. This warning was a reminder to Arnesto about his previous misconduct.  

Arnesto held a professional certificate of qualification issued by the director of certification from 2015 under the Teachers Act.

In 2020, he signed an agreement to not take on a role that required Ministry of Education certificate of qualification, independent school teaching certificate or letter of permission as defined in the Teachers Act.

Arnesto agreed to the cancellation of his certificate of qualifications, effective March 30, 2022, and a 10-year ban on reapplication.