Ian Handscomb, artistic director at the Claude Watson School for the Arts and faculty member since 1996, claims he maintained private Facebook communication with a 14-year-old student who was thinking of “coming out” because he believed the student sought his advice as an out gay man.
After the student moved to high school, Handscomb gave him copies of LGBT films Latter Days and Trick, which the Ontario College of Teachers considers distribution of sexually explicitly material. At an official disciplinary hearing this week, Handscomb was punished with a verbal reprimand and a 20-day suspension.
During the hearing, some of Handscomb’s private Facebook messages with the teen were revealed, including this gem:
“I saw Legally Blonde last night. I know you mentioned you were seeing it. It was cute. Some nice dancers to look at … boy, dancers have lots of muscles! Is that you are getting yours … your profile picture … haha.”
And the following month, this one:
“Hey, how come I don’t get to see you on stage in your underwear??????”
The College, which also recognized that Handscomb had failed to report being improperly propositioned by a former student years before, also found that Handscomb had driven the student to and from school alone.
Handscomb’s attorney told The Star that her client is a “role model for students questioning their sexuality,” though he “struggled” with this situation particularly.