Ex-Surrey teacher suspended from teaching in B.C. for 8 months

Lennard Nikolai made derogatory comments in girls P.E. class, yelled and swore at other students.

A former Surrey teacher has been suspended from teaching in B.C. for most of the 2014/15 school year after making inappropriate and derogatory remarks during a Grade 9 girls’ gym class.

According to a recent discipline decision by the B.C. Teacher Regulation Branch (BCTRB), Lennard Ray Nikolai was working as an on-call teacher at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary in April 2013 when he told students they would get a higher P.E. mark if they also played rugby or football. When a student said she played a different kind of football, Nikolai asked whether she played lingerie football. He also referred to students collectively as “LG,” short for “little girls,” and in reference to a student’s clothing, said “anyone wearing pink shorts like that gets a 10.

When a student fell on her back (but wasn’t injured), he sarcastically asked if she needed CPR and made it clear he wouldn’t be the one doing it, and another time, exercised by himself while his students were playing kickball.

Two days later, at Johnston Heights Secondary, Nikolai appeared to be asleep during a presentation by a guest speaker in his class, “leaning back in his chair with his eyes closed and legs extended,” according to the BCTRB.

The 2013 incidents weren’t the first for which Nikolai had been disciplined. The year prior, the Surrey School District disciplined Nikolai after he yelled and swore at students at Queen Elizabeth Secondary. In October 2012, when a Grade 9 boy hit him with a paper ball, Nikolai grabbed the student by the shirt, forcing him up against a wall so the student was on his toes and brought his face within centimetres of the student’s. Nikolai also kept replica weapons he had confiscated from students locked in his office, contrary to district policy. He was suspended for four months without pay, but it was only days after returning to work that he acted inappropriately in the gym class.

The Surrey School District came to a settlement with Nikolai last year which included his resignation from the district effective June 29, 2013.

Last month, the teacher regulation branch suspended his teaching certificate altogether for a period of eight months, beginning Sept. 1, 2014 until April 30, 2015. Prior to next April, Nikolai must complete an Identity and Boundaries course, as well as courses on anger management and conflict resolution.