Jimmy Dziedzina looks more like a biker than a teacher. With an imposing horseshoe beard and slicked back white hair, the shop teacher could have been cast as a mechanic on “American Chopper.” His no-nonsense demeanour makes him the kind of teacher that parents fondly remember from a generation ago.

At his secondary school in Mississauga, Ont., part of the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board recently profiled by National Review for turning a blind eye to endemic student violence, Dziedzina played an active part in student life. He coached girls’ varsity flag football and developed a strong rapport with many student athletes. However, in the spring of 2021, Dziedzina noticed that one student, Stephanie (not her real name), “was in a lot of distress.”

Stephanie was an outstanding athlete and had the perfect complement of brains to match her brawn, the veteran teacher said. “She’s just an incredible kid.”

However, Dziedzina could tell that something was clearly bothering Stephanie. “I eventually got her to open up and she told me that there was a boy in the school who was threatening her with cyberbullying – of sending out unconsenting naked pictures of her,” the educator said.

“I started hearing things about this guy having stuff on his phone,” Stephanie told True North. “Not just of me, but with other girls, as well. Obviously, that made me very worried. It would make anyone worried.” The teen said she had “caught him taking photos of me that were not consensual,” but hadn’t thought anything of them since they broke up. 

“I don’t think people that take these photos realize how bad it is to actually have them. They think it’s just a joke or something.”

Dziedzina’s mind instantly went to the story of Amanda Todd, a 15-year-old student from British Columbia who committed suicide following a “sextortion” plot in 2012. Todd’s story was a watershed moment for cyberbullying, and the tragedy underscored for Dziedzina the gravity of the situation.

“It should be enough to let anybody in charge of students appreciate the seriousness of that crime. And this is where it all started with me.”

He said he notified Stephanie’s family and was instructed by a union representative to alert law enforcement. When Dziedzina approached the school’s principal about the incident, however, the administrator was “initially resistant to reporting the allegations to police,” the teacher told his lawyers. In the end, the principal “reluctantly” contacted the police, Dziedzina said, but the administrator’s apparent hesitancy to pursue the matter left the teacher angered and frustrated.

Police eventually spoke with Stephanie and the male student, Carl (not his real name), but nothing came of the investigation, likely, according to Stephanie, because the images had been deleted, destroying any prosecutable evidence. Peel Regional Police did not respond to a request for comment. 

Dziedzina said the indifference of school administrators seemingly emboldened Carl, and his harassment of Stephanie continued. The teacher encouraged her to keep a log of any future incidents. Over the coming months, Stephanie said Carl spread sexual rumours about her while his new girlfriend allegedly stalked, screamed and even threatened to kill her. This was despite the fact that Stephanie had graduated by then.

A year later, another student reported to Dziedzina that Carl had threatened a different female student with explicit non-consensual photos — which the teacher deems child pornography, given that both girls were minors at the time. The second female student was contacted by the True North, but did not respond.

However, Carl allegedly took it a step further this time. “Not only is he doing the same thing, he actually now passed pictures of this other girl to a boy in the school and that boy threatened her with these unconsenting naked pictures,” Dziedzina alleged.

When teacher Jimmy Dziedzina approached his superiors about an alleged serial sextorter, the administrator’s “reluctance” angered and frustrated him. When the sextortion allegedly happened again, Dziedzina took matters into his own hands.

The teacher decided to speak with Carl. Minutes before Dziedzina’s morning class finished, he ducked out to get Carl, who was in the gym. He took the student back to his office, which was fitted with a glass door and was visible to nearly two dozen students and another teacher.

“I’m hearing you’re now doing this to another girl. I’m going to speak to her. If it’s true, I will be calling the police,” Dziedzina said he warned him. He then told Carl he also needed to leave Stephanie alone. “My last words to him were: ‘You need to stop the constant harassment.’”

According to Dziedzina, the interaction “lasted under two minutes” and Carl remained quiet. They parted company and Dziedzina — thinking nothing of the encounter — left the school for lunch. Shortly afterwards, he got a call from a union representative informing him that he was not allowed to return to school and would be placed on paid leave.

Carl reportedly complained to the school’s athletic director that Dziedzina had threatened to hurt him. The principal called in the police to investigate.

“If anything comes up with (Stephanie), I swear to God I’ll be the one to break your skull,” the student alleged Dziedzina threatened him, according to a document prepared by the teacher’s lawyers that was shared with True North. Carl further accused the teacher of calling him a “little s–t” and other profane names throughout the brief exchange. And he alleged that the teacher had blocked his exit when he had attempted to leave the office. Dziedzina has denied all allegations.

Carl’s family has declined to comment on the matter.

For Dziedzina, a teacher of three decades with no track record of abuse toward children or minors, the accusations were devastating. Later that month, police filed two serious charges against him — one of forcible confinement and another for threatening to cause bodily harm — which legal counsel informed him could carry a maximum sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

“I think, as a teacher, it’s proper if you are guilty of this, you’re gonna feel the pain of being guilty,” Dziedzina said, appreciative of the severity of the accusations.

Accompanied by his attorney, at month’s end, Dziedzina voluntarily surrendered to police, was placed in handcuffs and officially processed. An interview conducted by a female officer, and witnessed by her male partner, led to all charges being dropped that same day.

“I’m thinking, I’ve been exonerated, we’re going to finally deal now with the distribution of child pornography,” Dziedzina said.

Despite the charges being dropped, however, the school board decided to launch its own hearings into the teacher’s conduct. Dziedzina alleges that the board’s manager of employee relations focused the administration’s sole attention on him, disregarding Carl and the accusations against the student. 

“Since the incident you are inquiring about involves two minors, it would be … inappropriate for us to comment,” Bruce Campbell, a spokesman for Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, told True North.

Asked whether administrators were aware of the allegations against Carl or if any disciplinary measures were imposed, Campbell insisted the “matter was fully investigated and appropriately addressed.” Pressed to clarify when the board was alerted or what specific actions were taken, Campbell said: “That will be the extent of our comment on this matter.”

The incident had also been referred to the Children’s Aid Society of Peel and, in late June 2022, the society “verified” claims that Dziedzina had threatened Carl and placed him “at risk of emotional harm.” Within a month of the ruling, the school board sent Dziedzina an official notice that he was being referred to the Ontario College of Teachers, the body responsible for accrediting educators in the province.

Two weeks later, however, the Children’s Aid Society overturned its initial determination that Dziedzina had placed Carl “at risk of emotional harm.” While the body continued to maintain that the teacher had made a “direct verbal threat” to Carl, its director of legal services, Deana DeGrâce, informed Dziedzina that the emotional harm accusation had not been verified and that a “correction” would be made to child protection records.

“The Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board will be notified of the change,” she informed him. Peel’s Children’s Aid Society did not respond to a request for comment from True North.

Despite the police dropping charges and the Children’s Aid Society withdrawing its accusation of emotional harm, Dziedzina remains entangled in an ongoing legal battle with the school board to be reinstated. However, according to Dziedzina, his union has been unhelpful advocating on his behalf or keeping him informed about his ongoing arbitration claim. 

“The important point is that the board has not rescinded what they said about me,” Dziedzina defiantly maintains.


  • Ari Blaff

    Ari Blaff is a news writer for National Review. His writing has appeared in Tablet Magazine, Quillette, City Journal, and Newsweek. He holds a Master’s from the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and writes from Toronto.