In 1990 Jean-Alix Miguel was convicted of manslaughter and served seven years in prison after beating his common-law wife to death. In 1998, he was hired by the Montreal School Commission as an electrician instructor at one of their trade schools.
Miguel did not disclose his criminal record on his job application, as is required, and the school board refused to renew his contract after discovering this omission in 2004. The Board maintains that it did not renew his contract, not because of his criminal past but because he lied about it.
Miguel’s teacher’s union took his case to arbitration. The arbitrator ruled that Miguel did not pose a threat to his students and colleagues because he has a good teaching record and because his crime was not related to his work.
The Board then took the case to the Quebec Court of Appeal which last week rejected the appeal. According to Justice Marc Beauregard, there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the school board “did not want to employ someone who has been convicted of manslaughter, regardless of the circumstances of the offense and the rehabilitation of the perpetrator.”
Possibly implicit in the court’s ruling is the thinking the Board fired Miguel because of his criminal record but used the excuse that he lied about it. In any event the court ordered the Board to rehire the convicted killer.
Should the Board rehire Miguel straightaway or should it appeal the case to the Supreme Court of Canada.
What do teachers think? Should a board be forced to rehire a killer?
What do you think?