A former Delta high school teacher has received a lifetime ban from teaching as a result of a Surrey Creep Catchers sting in 2017.
In a decision published Tuesday (June 22), B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation Howard Kushner cancelled Simon William Isbister’s certificate of qualification under sections 53 and 64(e) of the Teachers Act, and Isbister agreed never to teach in the kindergarten to Grade 12 system or at an independent school.
The commissioner’s decision stems from an incident that occurred over the course of a week in late-November 2017.
According to an agreed statement of facts, Isbister posted in the “Casual Encounters” section of Craigslist on Nov. 20 that he looking for someone interested in meeting with him and another person, and included a photograph of himself and this other person.
That same day he responded to an ad posted by someone using the name “Lo Lo,” who purported to be an 18-year-old female. “Lo Lo” later replied saying her name was Sierra and she was “turning 13,” and attached a photo of the bottom half of a young girl’s face showing her tongue with a stud piercing.
Isbister replied he thought 13 was “very young” and he was “not sure how I feel about that.”
Sierra responded, “Lol. No worries. I’m mature. And attracted to older guys.” Isbister then asked if Sierra had “played with many older guys,” to which she replied “a couple.”
“Lucky them!” Isbister replied.
He went on to ask her more about these encounters and her living arrangements.
Isbister wrote he was curious to meet her but nervous as he could “get into a lot of trouble for meeting a girl so young.” Sierra said she was nervous too and promised to never tell anyone. Isbister then asked for her phone number.
The two exchanged a series of text messages over the next several days. On Nov. 23, Sierra asked if the other person in Isbister’s photo knew about the proposed date and Sierra’s age. Isbister replied, “No, not entirely.”
On Nov. 25, Isbister made plans to meet Sierra at a Tim Horton’s in Surrey two days later.
Isbister arrived at the Tim Horton’s at around 10:30 p.m. on Nov. 27 and waited in his car. Sierra texted him to say she was nearly there and asked him to buy her a hot chocolate so she would be able to identify him.
At nearly 11 p.m., as Isbister was ordering and paying for hot chocolate, a man from Surrey Creep Catchers came in and called “Simon! Simon! What’s up?” while video recording the interaction.
When the man asked Isbister if he knew who the man was, Isbister replied, “I can guess.”
The exchange between the two lasted about 15 minutes. Isbister told the man he came to meet Sierra because he was worried about her, and acknowledged that Sierra’s profile stated she was 18 but that she had told him she was 12.
Surrey Creep Catchers posted video of the encounter online under the title “Simon” on Nov. 28, 2017.
An anonymous caller brought the video to the attention of the Delta School District on Aug. 22, 2018. The Ministry of Education was told of the video by an anonymous caller on Aug. 23.
The district suspended Isbister on Aug. 27, and he resigned from his job on Sept. 21.
The commissioner considered the matter on Oct. 13, 2020 and proposed Isbister sign a consent resolution agreement. That agreement was signed by Isbister and the commissioner on June 3 and 4, 2021.
In the consent resolution agreement, the commissioner called Isbister’s actions “very serious misconduct that undermines the public confidence in the education system,” noting his conduct spanned several days and showed a pattern of persistence in meeting with Sierra, and that he was aware the entire time that her could “get into a lot of trouble.”
The decision did not specify which high school Isbister had been employed at when the events in question occurred.