B.C.’s commissioner for teacher regulation has reprimanded a former Abbotsford teacher for showing Grade 7 students a film about boundaries in which a tree kills a boy.
Utpala Virendra Acharya in January 2019 showed students a film based on a Shel Silverstein story called ‘The Tree With Healthy Boundaries.’
The original tale is one of the relationship between a boy and a tree in which the tree helps the boy over the course of his life by providing apples to sell and branches with which to build his house.
In the video Acharya showed students, the tree kills the boy when he requests more apples. The tree calls the boy a ‘motherf****r’ and then brings “branches down on the boy with full force, snapping his spine in several places causing massive internal bleeding and ensuring him a swift death,” commissioner Howard Kushner’s Aug. 27 decision released this week said.
The decision said the tree was sad because she remembered the good times with the boy and did not like what she had done. But, she knew it was an act of self defence flowing from healthy boundaries.
Kushner said the video, was not previewed by Acharya, was not age appropriate and contained a content advisory for “naughty word” and ‘graphic violence.’
There was no warning to parents of the film so parents could not decide to withdraw children, Kushner said.
The district suspended Acharya for three days without pay.
Acharya agreed the conduct was unprofessional.