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Former Nanaimo teacher faces charges related to images of child sexual abuse

Darrell Christopher Gilkes was hired as an on-call teacher in November 2022, but the district says it’s had no contact with him since he signed an undertaking not to practise in June 2023
A warrant was issued in Nanaimo for Darrell Christopher Gilkes’ arrest on May 13.

A former on-call teacher in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district is facing charges of possessing and distributing or importing child sexual abuse images.

Darrell Christopher Gilkes was hired as an on-call teacher by School District 68 on Nov. 10, 2022, Gillian Robinson, a spokesperson for the district, confirmed.

Online court records indicate charges of possessing and distributing or importing child pornography were sworn against Gilkes on May 8 and 13 of this year. The offence date listed is Dec. 4, 2022. There is an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

Nanaimo RCMP said they could not provide information related to the charges, as the matter is before the courts.

The school district has had no contact with Gilkes since he signed an undertaking not to practise on June 23, 2023, Robinson said.

Gilkes appears on B.C.’s online registry of teachers as ineligible and not authorized to practise. He has a valid teaching certificate but has signed an undertaking not to practise pending resolution of a matter before the commissioner or a hearing panel under the Teachers Act, according to the registry.

Gilkes agreed to the undertaking when information related to the allegations was shared with B.C.’s Teacher Regulation Branch, part of the Ministry of Education and Child Care, a ministry spokesperson said. The spokesperson could not say how the Teacher Regulation Branch was made aware of the allegations in June 2023.

“The ministry takes concerns regarding student safety and well-being very seriously, and has information sharing agreements with the RCMP and municipal police in the province of British Columbia and is notified when someone holding a teaching certificate is charged with an offence,” the spokesperson said.

In cases where allegations suggest there is a risk to students, the commissioner for teacher regulation can request that a teacher sign an undertaking pending an investigation or issue an interim suspension of a teacher certificate. Once an investigation concludes, the commissioner determines an appropriate disciplinary outcome, the spokesperson said.

A letter posted online from Newmarket High School in Ontario to families last week called Gilkes a current teacher at the school and said the school was aware of recent media reporting on Gilkes’s charges. The staff member is not at the school pending the outcome of the investigation, the letter said.

“At this time, there is no reason to believe this involves any Newmarket HS students, however we know your child and family may be affected by the news and we are here to support them,” the letter said.

The high school did not respond to a request for comment.

According to the Ontario College of Teachers, Gilkes has been registered as a teacher in that province since July 29, 2016 and is in good standing.

His registration notes his charges in Nanaimo and says a warrant was issued in that city for his arrest on May 13.

Updates to his registration will be made if he is found guilty or if there are any changes to the charges, said Gabrielle Barkany, a senior communications officer for the Ontario College of Teachers.

Applicants are required to provide criminal record checks when applying for membership to the college. Gilkes’s certification was issued in 2016, before any criminal charges, Barkany noted.

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