Substitute steps in as scandalized teacher awaits trial

School will continue as normal, despite the recent arrest of a school teacher at Joseph Howe Senior Public School, according to the Toronto District School Board.

On Jan. 18, a 40-year-old female schoolteacher was arrested and charged with sexual assault and sexual exploitation.  She is accused of having an “inappropriate relationship” with a former student, beginning in June 2009, according to Const. Wendy Drummond.

“There is a long-term occasional (supply teacher) in place,” said Grant Bowers, legal counsel for the Toronto District School Board.

Mary Gowans. (Facebook image)
Mary Gowans. (Facebook image) (Facebook Image)

Mary Gowans, a French and physical education teacher, has “been sent home with pay,” Bowers said.  She is scheduled to appear in court March 1 to face the charges; the beginning of a legal process Bowers assumes “will take a year—at least.”

“She’s not to contact or be with any students during this time,” Bowers said.

A letter from David Milgram, the school’s principal, was sent home to parents shortly after the arrest.  “Supports” are in place for students with concerns about the issue, according to Bowers.  The school’s doors were locked to the media the day after the arrest was made.

Joseph Howe Senior Public has removed Gowans from the faculty page on its school website.  Stories originally published on the National Post and CBC websites have now disabled their comment functions—presumably to avoid the onslaught of pointed reactions from readers.

Before comments were shut down, one National Post visitor highlighted a double standard based on gender in the public perception of teacher-student sex scandals.

On the other hand, perfect ratings continue to flood in on, where current and former students praise Gowans as a helpful teacher and an easy marker.

In a November newsletter sent home to parents from the school, it appears Gowans was planning a Quebec City graduation trip with 120 students for January.