National Post

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Saturday, March 11, 2000

Teacher charged over affair with her student
Nancy Moote
National Post

(Heather) Ingram

SECHELT, B.C. - A 30-year-old woman, described as an excellent teacher, has been charged with sexual exploitation of a teenage boy who was her student.

Heather Ingram was suspended from her job as a mathematics, science and business teacher at Chatelech Secondary School in October after a school superintendent heard she was involved with a 17-year-old student. She resigned a few weeks later and since has been advertising her services as a private math tutor.

Ms. Ingram and her former student, who is now 18, have been seen together publicly since then.

The case has sparked debate in this town of about 8,000 on the Sunshine Coast, a 40-minute ferry ride north of Vancouver.

On Thursday, the day Ms. Ingram was formally charged, a group of her former Grade 11 and 12 students said it is not wrong for a teacher to have a relationship with a student as long as the student fully consents.

"They're blowing it out of proportion," said one boy who had Ms. Ingram as a teacher and knows her alleged victim.

"All the students feel that way," added a Grade 11 girl. It's the adults who say such behaviour is wrong, she said.

Clifford Smith, the former superintendent of schools who made the decision to suspend Ms. Ingram when he first heard the allegations, says an affair with a student is "absolutely reprehensible."

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