Teacher fired at ritzy British Columbia school after mentioning that he opposed abortion

This is a story that will chill you to the marrow, at least if you have any respect for due process, freedom of speech, and a loathing for the Regressive Left.

You can find two successive versions of the tale in the Vancouver Sun and the National Post, so it seems kosher to me. It’s about the hounding and then firing of an anonymous 44-year-old male teacher (we’ll call him “AT”) for making an innocuous comment in a class at a very ritzy and expensive private school in Vancouver, Fraser Academy. The school, which teaches students from grades 1-12 (tuition: $30,000 per year), specializes in students with “language-based learning disabilities”, but also seems thoroughly imbued with Regressive Leftism. As the Sun reports (my emphasis):

Before classes even started last fall, teachers underwent serious “gender training” given by QMUNITY, an organization for LGBTQQ2S (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning and two-spirit) people. Teachers were told in no uncertain terms, for instance, that “no one is 100-per-cent male or female” and that everyone is somewhere on the “gender spectrum.”

Unsurprisingly, students at the school, where $30,000-a-year tuition buys small classes, regularly say “I’m so triggered” and are allowed to walk out of class.

The triggering event at issue occurred on November 24, and seems tame enough, but it mushroomed into a huge fracas that led to AT’s firing. AT describes what he said to a 12th-grade class unit on criminal law, vice, ethics, and morality (my emphasis):

“I was working my way through examples of how some people’s sense of personal ethics was more liberal than the letter of the law,” he said in an email.

For example, he told them, many people might roll through a stop sign on a deserted country road, deeming it morally acceptable, even if unlawful.

In other words, he said, in a pluralistic democracy, there’s often “a difference between people’s private morality and the law.

“I find abortion to be wrong,” he said, as another illustration of this gap, “but the law is often different from our personal opinions.”

That was it, the teacher said. “It was just a quick exemplar, nothing more. And we moved on.”

A little later, the class had a five-minute break, and when it resumed, several students didn’t return, among them a popular young woman who had gone to an administrator to complain that what the teacher said had “triggered” her such that she felt “unsafe” and that, in any case, he had no right to an opinion on the subject of abortion because he was a man.

There ensued a series of stressful meetings between the teacher, his bosses, and the student. AT was asked to show contrition in a meeting with the student and another teacher, but AT refused on the grounds that it would set a bad precedent. But he then apoligized to the student. That wasn’t good enough, even though he’d been recognized as an outstanding teacher at Fraser. He later met with his class and the boss to tender a public apology, knowing that his job was on the line. And he did apologize, but in the wrong way. Here’s AT’s account (my emphasis):

It was exactly the horror show [AT had] imagined: His boss sat among a crowd of students, ran through a list of what had gone wrong and “what I needed to do to change.” While most students appeared to be on his side, the offended girl was still furious.

He apologized specifically to her, but then made what was apparently a fatal error: He said he liked her, that she was a bright and engaging student, and said he’d told her father just that at a recent parent-teacher night.

She stormed out of the class in tears, and he was again castigated by his superiors, this time for having been “too personal” in his apologia.

On Nov. 30, he showed up at the school, was retrieved by an administrator and taken to the “head” of school, the private school equivalent of a principal.

He was told he “could no longer continue in the classroom,” and was offered a short-term medical disability top-up for employment insurance.

He was then escorted down the hall and off the premises.

Now remember that this is AT’s account; the school won’t comment on personnel issues and, according to the Post, Fraser has put its teachers under a gag order. Nevertheless. the school sent a public relations representative to the Post, but it was an off-the-record contact, so we have no information. But the Post‘s interviewed four ex-employees of Fraser, reporting that they complain about the lack of due process for teachers and “a querulous, autocratic, and unpredictable administration.” (Remember, these are ex-employees, but they are also the only ones free to speak given the gag order.)

The Post article gives several other stories of teachers fired for ridiculous things, including leaving the school Christmas party and eating on his own after a parent-teacher pizza party. This reminds me of the episode, recounted in The Gulag Archipelago, in which people stood up and applauded Stalin after a speech, and the applause went on for minutes, with everyone afraid to stop clapping first. And the one who did was arrested and sent to the gulag.

I’ll take AT’s story as true for the time being. I’m horrified by what happened to AT and by the power these easily-triggered students have over faculty. And remember that AT was a highly lauded teacher (he apparently now works for the Vancouver School System).  The Offense Culture is now infecting both the US and Canada, and in some ways it’s worse in Canada.

No teacher should have been treated like that, and I fear for those students when they leave the cocoon of Fraser and enter the real world. Of course what the “real world” is becoming in Canada may be congenial to the coddled.

fraser_academy_sign

h/t: Cindy

140 Comments

  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 12, 2016 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    To even attempt teaching ethics in this school sounds like a time bomb just waiting to happen. If I were this teacher, everything said from here on would be through the best lawyer I could get.

    • Gordon
      Posted December 13, 2016 at 5:02 am | Permalink

      Speaking as an academic but practically experienced employment lawyer – the best advice you can give a client is it’s not worth wasting three years of your life geeting what you hope will be justice as it’s not going to happen. At best you might win some compensation but proabably barely enough to pay the legal bills let alone the damage to domestic life as you get sucked into a case (and in most cases you can be sure no-one at the employer end will be emotionally involved. This guy sounds like he has got a new job and moved on – best thing he could do.

  2. Diana MacPherson
    Posted December 12, 2016 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    I’ve seen this in the work place too. In the form of “I don’t like how you treat me” by employees not working. And then an attempt to drag the manager through the mud. It’s catching on to people who are older than the millennial generation. No one is allowed to be criticized. Those not working should be allowed to just not work.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 12, 2016 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Nice work, if you can find it.

  3. Posted December 12, 2016 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Doesn’t Canada have laws against sacking people for trivialities?

    In the UK the teacher would go straight to an employment tribunal.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 12, 2016 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      Yes, but getting a lawyer and going through the litigation can be costly so most people don’t bother. The labour board sometimes can help you on its own but the school board in this case could probably just say he violated some rule and it would go back and forth in a “he said, she said” sort of way. Much easier to just move on.

      • Posted December 12, 2016 at 10:31 am | Permalink

        In the UK, just violating some rule would not be sufficient, unless the employer could fully justify that rule as necessary for the job.

        Essentially the teacher could only be sacked like this if the behaviour constituted “gross misconduct”, and I don’t see how an independent employment tribunal would agree that it did.

        (Though having said that I’m not at all expert on these things.)

      • Mark Sturtevant
        Posted December 12, 2016 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        Aside from the initial non-incident, the various meetings that followed should have been recorded or at least summarized by a scribe. Given the potentially serious outcome, I would be surprised if they were not.

        • DrBrydon
          Posted December 12, 2016 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

          I suspect the teacher had no idea that he needed to do that for something so trivial. What he should have had was a lawyer, which is indicative of how bad the situation has gotten.

    • rickflick
      Posted December 12, 2016 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Employment tribunal? Is that something like a death panel?
      🙂

      • jeremy pereira
        Posted December 12, 2016 at 10:29 am | Permalink

        It’s a court-lite focused on cases involving alleged unfair treatment by employers of employees. The main advantage compared to a full court hearing is that is much cheaper, especially for the plaintiff (i.e. the employee)

        • rickflick
          Posted December 12, 2016 at 10:42 am | Permalink

          Makes perfect sense to me.

          • Posted December 13, 2016 at 12:10 am | Permalink

            If they were ever to go to court, how on earth would that student get a “jury of her peers?”

      • Michael Waterhouse
        Posted December 16, 2016 at 2:36 am | Permalink

        That would be the social justice tribunals.

    • eric
      Posted December 12, 2016 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      This is a private school. So I’m assuming he doesn’t have the standard job security and review protocols offered to most civil servants in many countries.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted December 12, 2016 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        Yeah, teachers in public schools are part of a powerful union and it’s rare for them to be fired.

        • Ken Phelps
          Posted December 12, 2016 at 10:45 am | Permalink

          Far *too* rare.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted December 12, 2016 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

            Yeah, well, teachers without a union can be put out on the street at the whim and caprice of their employer. Just ask AT.

            I’m confident there’s a happy medium between the two.

      • Craw
        Posted December 12, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

        That it’s a private school really doesn’t matter as far as the mind set on display. Plus, do we really think employees of private corporations should have no right to fair treatment? I don’t think that, and I am one of the most pro free-market posters here.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted December 12, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

          I agree. The mindset and situation are really concerning. It seems that one spoiled brat is able to destroy the life of a good teacher.

          Unless we find out that the student aborted the teacher’s child and that’s why the whole thing was so upsetting to her, it seems it’s the student who was the problem, not the teacher. I’ll bet you the student had a crush on the teacher, and that’s why she was so affected by him.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted December 12, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

            I’m glad he at least found employment in the public system where he won’t be tormented like that and if he is, he has some protection and recourse. They probably lost a good teacher.

            • Posted December 12, 2016 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

              + 1

            • Filippo
              Posted December 12, 2016 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

              This won’t be a carrot for any teacher contemplating applying for a position at this private tyranny – Ah mean – school.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 12, 2016 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      In the UK the teacher would go straight to an employment tribunal.

      No, it’d be straight to the bank to withdraw the (IIRC) £1200 fee required to submit a case to an employment tribunal. Or if he were a member of a trade union (most trade unions – I’m not sure that all of them do this. All the ones I’ve volunteered for.), straight down to the local union office or shop steward to inform them of the situation.

      There ensued a series of stressful meetings between the teacher, his bosses, and the student.

      … and of course, his union’s representative.
      Or are unions not allowed in Canada teaching? I know that’s not true in general, and I recall that when I worked in Canada my presentations at safety meetings on the work of the UK and European unions was perfectly acceptable to the management.

      • steve
        Posted December 13, 2016 at 4:46 am | Permalink

        Generally speaking: No unions for private school teachers; but yes unions for government funded (public) school teachers across the board in all of Canada’s provinces. Also “In Canada…..” sorts of comments are not quite right for education, as education is almost solely in the domain of the Provinces (Provincial governments); not Canada per se (Federal government).

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 14, 2016 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

          If a teacher who was a paid-up union member joined one of these private schools, would there be something to the school could do to prevent the teacher’s legal representative from attending an industrial tribunal to represent their client’s interests? Even if the lawyer’s bills were paid by the union?
          That is, of course, assuming that Canada has something resembling employment tribunals – which the seafaring trades in NL certainly did.
          I remember one week when I was manning the phone lines for the union. Our principal officer came back from the third tribunal of the week where [oil company]’s HR director had objected to the trade unionist’s presence, and been told by the (lawyer) chairman of the tribunal that the company had absolutely no right in law to prevent the (ex-)employee from having representation at the tribunal. Three identical cases in one week – the only names and faces that changed were the sacked people who were re-instated in their jobs, with compensation. Oddly, the compensation payments increased with each identical case – the tribunal was getting pissed off with the law being flouted by the company.
          I’ve always described my union dues as being a payment into an insurance scheme guaranteeing legal support in any work-related dispute. Considering that most of the industry’s senior management were American and rabidly opposed to any union involvement, legal action was about the only influence we could have. So we did that.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted December 13, 2016 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        All public school teachers belong to a powerful union. This guy was a private teacher and probably not part of a union.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 14, 2016 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

          Is it illegal for a private citizen to be a paid-up member of a trade union? I’m continuing to pay my union dues despite having been laid off from my industry, (and with my former employer having reached 80% layoffs now, it’s becoming moot if they’ll survive until the industry recovers). Should I join another industry, I’ll still be a member of the union, even if the employer has a page in the contract with league-high letters of fire stating that they don’t recognise trade unions. Their recognition or not is nothing to do with whether the union can act as my representative in matters of employment law.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted December 15, 2016 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

            I think you basically join a union if your job is part of a union. After you leave that job, you are no longer part of the union. Perhaps guilds work differently – like my friend who is in a guild as a film editor.

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted December 15, 2016 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

              It probably depends on the country. There definitely have been demarcation battles in the past, but we never paid heed to them – if you work anywhere in the upstream oil industry, we considered you in our remit, whether you worked in the pay office onshore or in a saturation spread 600ft below the waves.

              • Michael Waterhouse
                Posted December 16, 2016 at 2:56 am | Permalink

                As long as each sector has due attention paid to them, it is better a united front.

              • rickflick
                Posted December 16, 2016 at 6:43 am | Permalink

                “saturation spread 600ft below”

                Ah, what some will do for a taste of that black gold. Hopefully these will phase out over the next 50 years and we can all stick to recreational diving above 100 feet.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted December 17, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

                It’s the gold gold that divers look for. They’re also happy to work – for sufficient coin – on bridge foundations and other civils. Also body recovery from sunken ships (same pay rate).
                I know “tech divers” who recreationally push 300ft (at which point, the air surface is unreachable without death or decompression intervening). It’s a helluva recreation. So is BASE jumping.

    • Gordon
      Posted December 13, 2016 at 5:05 am | Permalink

      Not unless they had two years (I think) employment under their belt and could afford the extortionate court fees the Tories have implemented – which have led to a massive decline in unfair dismisssal cases.

  4. Michael
    Posted December 12, 2016 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    The account is reminiscent of the practice used during the Cultural Revolution in China to humiliate and purge intellectuals.

    • ploubere
      Posted December 12, 2016 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      yes.

    • merilee
      Posted December 12, 2016 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      Cultural Revolution is exactly what occured to me.

    • zoolady
      Posted December 12, 2016 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Michael….that was my first thought, too! What’s next? Public self-criticism sessions?

      • Craw
        Posted December 12, 2016 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

        Sounds like they had one.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 12, 2016 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Wonder if Fraser offers a course on “the little red book.” If so, it’s not an elective.

    • Posted December 12, 2016 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      I believe the Sun article itself draws a parallel between this type of shaming and the behavior in China during the Cultural Revolution.

    • Posted December 12, 2016 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      I wonder if he had to wear a dunce cap while groveling before his accusers.

    • Tim Harris
      Posted December 13, 2016 at 6:44 am | Permalink

      My first thought, too. The situation seems positively Maoist.

  5. eric
    Posted December 12, 2016 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    So claiming two spirits is okay, so long as one of them isn’t conservative.

    Regarding his example use, it wasn’t the best idea to state his own personal opinion. Politics is much like religion – you probably shouldn’t be mentioning either in class, just in case the students feel a subtle pressure or coercion to publicly agree with you. “Some people find…” would’ve been much better. Having said that, though, the response was way over the top, and it certainly shouldn’t make anyone feel physically unsafe to disagree politically or religiously with their teacher.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 12, 2016 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      The part about running out of the classroom in tears because the apology was too personal really got me. This girl seems to be easily triggered and is unsuited to learning in a classroom environment.

      • jeremy pereira
        Posted December 12, 2016 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        Maybe she ran out of the classroom in tears because she realised she had humiliated him and destroyed his career and was regretting what she had done.

        • Ken Phelps
          Posted December 12, 2016 at 10:49 am | Permalink

          More likely she’s just learned how to manipulate the weak-kneed adults around her. It’s just another in a long series of hissy fits in the Coco-Puff aisle. Wait ’til she discovers sexual assault as a tool.

          • Posted December 12, 2016 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

            I agree. It reminds me of students who burst in tears when they receive a well-deserved non-passing grade; and also of a friend who used this method at an airport when she came to check in too late.

          • DireLobo
            Posted December 12, 2016 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

            “Wait ’til she discovers sexual assault as a tool.”

            Really man? Get a grip.

            • Michael Waterhouse
              Posted December 16, 2016 at 3:09 am | Permalink

              With all the talk of safe and unsafe it may be a fair consideration.
              Many are feeling unsafe as they creep about on various eggshells.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 12, 2016 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

          You’re very charitable. Maybe she’d realised that she was being identified as the perpetrator of this assault and career-destruction of the teacher, and that this might adversely affect her popularity in her peer group.

          • jeremy pereira
            Posted December 13, 2016 at 7:45 am | Permalink

            Yes, I don’t automatically look for the worst possible interpretation of events.

            However, your interpretation is certainly more plausible especially when you factor in that the majority of the class were supportive of the teacher and may not have known who was responsible before he started addressing her personally.

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted December 14, 2016 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

              Yes, I don’t automatically look for the worst possible interpretation of events.

              My cynicism is rooted in having seen a lot of people behaving very nastily. I do try to resist it, but I often fail.
              To mis-quote the Jello Biafra, Holiday in Aleppo, anyone?

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted December 12, 2016 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        The whole mess got to me, but that part really got me, too, especially because her response reminds me of things people did who had gone through “primal therapy,” another ridiculous psychotherapeutic something-or-other, invented by Arthur Janov. I may have brought this up in another context, but it seems quite apropos here. The Wiki definition “Primal therapy is a trauma-based psychotherapy created by Arthur Janov, who argues that neurosis is caused by the repressed pain of childhood trauma. Janov argues that repressed pain can be sequentially brought to conscious awareness and resolved through re-experiencing the incident and fully expressing the resulting pain during therapy. In therapy, the patient recalls and reenacts a particularly disturbing past experience usually occurring early in life and expresses normally repressed anger or frustration especially through spontaneous and unrestrained screams, hysteria, or violence.” I had the misfortune some of his patients/disciples (met Janov, too, an upscale huckster in my book), who because of this therapy had become past masters in the art of “trigger warning” hysteria decades before the term was coined. Those who underwent this therapy became ostentatiously touchy and agitated If a person said the slightest thing that upset them, they didn’t agree with, or didn’t like. They’d cut the discussion short, say something like “I’m going to primal,” and throw a terrible twos tantrum, screaming, wailing, beating their fists against things — completely out of control. That pretty much shut down any discussion of anything, Unfortunately, Janov was ahead of his time

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted December 12, 2016 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

          John did a tune about it.

          • Jenny Haniver
            Posted December 12, 2016 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

            Thought I sent this reply, but apparently not: I’d not known of this song until now. I listened to it (as much of it as I could, including the end) and all I can say is “Whew!” As they said back in the day, “That was heavy!”

      • eric
        Posted December 12, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        I don’t want to be uncharitable, but I half agree with Ken. Seems to me that by the apology time she wanted the teacher gone. And she knew with some waterworks she could make it happen.

        There isn’t much difference between this case and “he cast a spell on me.” I’m sure a lot of people in the past really, honestly believed in witches. But the sort of person who accused their neighbor or teacher of witchcraft wasn’t just a believer, they were a believer with a grudge and a legal system that would let them act on that grudge.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted December 12, 2016 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

          Yeah, I am left with that opinion as well and sadly I’ve seen it in the working world where employees cry a river at something trivial, blow it out of proportion then proceed to drag the manager through the mud going to the union, writing letters etc. It bothers me a lot.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 12, 2016 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

          Predicting that next year – next semester? – the same school will have a row because some part of the teaching establishment proposes performing “The Crucible”. Or one of this list of “triggering” works.

    • Kevin
      Posted December 12, 2016 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      Agreed. Two errors. As much as I would like a world where no one gets offended by statements of personal belief, the teacher should have kept his views to him self. And the school, irrational, insecure counter-reaction.

      • DrBrydon
        Posted December 12, 2016 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        If we say that he made a mistake by expressing a personal belief, haven’t we just validated the school’s reaction? Teachers obviously have a responsibility not to push their beliefs on children, but a person has to be free to express an opinion without fear of loosing their livelihood.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted December 12, 2016 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

          And he did it in an off the cuff way to illustrate a broader point. It’s not that he was forcing that belief on the students. Good grief, we want to live in a pluralistic society but we can’t tolerate someone thinking differently than us?

          • eric
            Posted December 12, 2016 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

            Well as I said I don’t think his choice was the best idea. But I think it probably deserved a ‘try not to use your own personal beliefs as an example next time’ wrist slap, not anything like firing.

            • Henry Fitzgerald
              Posted December 13, 2016 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

              Did he really do even that much?

              I mean, he may have, but having been involved in lots of discussions of ethics in academic settings (I did philosophy in both high school and university), people often give purely made-up examples with the pronouns “I” and “you” – so much easier than having to make up fictional names all the time. The meaning is always something like, “Let’s suppose I’m opposed to abortion, and…” The “let’s suppose” clause is often, perhaps usually, left out for the sake of shorthand, but that’s only because everyone is taking it as read.

              Not saying this is what happened here, but I’m still pretty sure this is the spirit in which the teacher’s remark ought to have been understood, [i]even if[/i] he was (in this instance) expressing something that happened to coincide with one of his actual beliefs.

        • eric
          Posted December 12, 2016 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

          No, I don’t think so. To be clear, I think it is perfectly fine for him to use abortion as an example case of how people sometimes disagree morally about an issue where they may agree legally. Just like I think its perfectly fine for a teacher to talk about the beliefs of Christianity, Islam, etc. (assuming its relevant to the class). But that’s a bit different from the guy who grades your paper making a point to say, in class, *I* believe Jesus rose from the dead, or *I* believe abortion is immoral. In that case, I think a teen could very reasonably conclude that they should maybe pretend agreement to get a good grade, or at least not vocally disagree if they want to receive a fair grade. And that’s sort of a toxic atmosphere to free discussion.

          I think there are situations where the teacher’s personal opinion can contribute positively to discussion. But I think if you’re having an academic discussion about politics or religion, its probably not needed and may be detrimental. And really, why go there? Is it really that important to you, the teacher, that your students know your opinion on abortion, or Jesus, or Mohammed? What is wrong with discussing the variation in human ideology and belief in a more abstract way?

      • David Duncan
        Posted December 12, 2016 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        My maths teacher in high school made some negative comments about Franco. I didn’t run off to the principal. People just need to develop thicker skins. She didn’t push the subject, it was just an aside.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 12, 2016 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

          My Spanish teacher at school said nothing at all about Franco. Just that he had spent 2 years working in France instead of trying to get into Franco’s Spain to continue his studies.
          Similarly, our Spanish “language assistant”, who was Argentinian, said precisely nothing about the Junta. Apart, of course, from being half-way around the world from her home country and complaining continually about the weather. I bumped into one of the teachers a couple of years later and heard that she’d left Britain for Spain a few days after the outbreak of the Malvinas War.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted December 12, 2016 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

            “complaining continually about the weather”

            Surely that was just a full-blooded acceptance of local customs? 😉

            cr

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted December 12, 2016 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

              Yep ; but she still seemed surprised about it.

  6. ploubere
    Posted December 12, 2016 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    This is not only about regressive leftism, nor a new problem for expensive private schools, whose bottom line depends on keeping rich kids enrolled. The triggering claim is a new tactic for the students, though.

    It is an example of what happens the more education becomes privatized—students increasingly become clients who have to be coddled in order to keep those tuition checks coming. It’s even happening at public colleges as state support drops and funding formulas depend on keeping as many students enrolled as possible.

    • David Duncan
      Posted December 12, 2016 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Several family members teach in expensive private schools, and it seems to me from what they say that parents willing and able to pay crazy high fees are a dime a dozen. It’s the really good teachers that are important. (Several were headhunted by the schools involved and I can’t see them being sacked for this sort of thing.)

  7. merilee
    Posted December 12, 2016 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    check check

  8. Jonathan Dore
    Posted December 12, 2016 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    “I fear for those students when they leave the cocoon of Fraser and enter the real world.”

    Sadly, I suspect the “real world” that awaits children of parents who can afford $30K a year to send them to school probably doesn’t include ever having to find a job.

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted December 12, 2016 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      $30K a year is minimum wage in Seattle. That’s a long way from never having to find a job.

      • eric
        Posted December 12, 2016 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

        That’s the per-student charge, not what the teacher is getting paid. There are probably 20-30 students per class, 7 classes a day. and about half probably goes to overhead costs (administrative pay, benefits, rent, equipment, etc.). That would work out to about $53k available per teacher for pay. Which is still probably low for a white collar professional in Vancouver, but its not $30k.

        • Gregory Kusnick
          Posted December 12, 2016 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

          What the teacher gets paid is irrelevant to Jonathan’s implication that a $30K/year commitment from the parents for school equates to a guaranteed life of leisure as an adult.

          My guess is that a fair percentage of those parents struggle to come up with that $30K each year. Some of them probably go into debt to do it. But they do it anyway because they think it will help their kids get better jobs, not so that they can grow up to be unproductive parasites living off parental largesse.

          • Jonathan Dore
            Posted December 14, 2016 at 5:47 am | Permalink

            I’m sure you’re right. But the majority will be wealthy parents, and their children will probably have trust-funds set up for them, or will move in circles where lucrative jobs will be offered them without having to ask, or they’ll marry someone who can guarantee them that kind of lifestyle.

            • Gregory Kusnick
              Posted December 14, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

              The majority? It seems unlikely. In the general population, families who can barely afford such schools far outnumber those who can easily afford it. Do you have evidence that the proportion is reversed in the school population?

              • Jonathan Dore
                Posted December 16, 2016 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

                Sorry, I thought it was clear we were talking about parents of children **at the Fraser Academy**. It charges $30K a year school fees. The majority of people who can afford that will be wealthy. I don’t think that’s a controversial statement.

              • Gregory Kusnick
                Posted December 16, 2016 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

                Surely what matters is whether it’s a true statement. The point I’m trying to make is that never having to look for a job is an entirely different level of wealth than being able to afford $30K/year in school tuition. We have evidence that Fraser Academy parents fall into the latter category, but that tells us very little about how many of them fall into the former category, and it does them an injustice to simply assume that they do.

              • Jonathan Dore
                Posted December 17, 2016 at 8:18 am | Permalink

                Well, if you’re able to pay $30K a year for something entirely voluntary (because you could send your child to a public school for free), that effectively means you have $30K a year *to spare*. And think what that means if you have more than one child, or are sending them to such a place for their entire 12-year school career. Hundreds of thousands of dollars *to spare*. Anyone who can do that is seriously wealthy in my book.

              • Wunold
                Posted December 17, 2016 at 9:05 am | Permalink

                There may be grants or the parents got into debts for the education of their children. You can’t derive wealthiness by simply looking at the school fees.

              • Gregory Kusnick
                Posted December 17, 2016 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

                Jonathan, median household income in the US is around $60K/year. Is it your claim that earning $90K ($30K “to spare”) qualifies as “seriously wealthy”? If so, 30% of US households meet that definition.

                For comparison, the top 10% starts at around $160K, and the top 1% at $350K.

                We’ve gone on long enough with this so I’ll leave it there.

  9. Cindy
    Posted December 12, 2016 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    “Opinions I disagree with ” = harm, hate speech, even murder in some cases.
    See Jordan B Peterson and bill c-16 in Canada. It is now hate speech to use the wrong pronouns to refer to a non-binary person even if unintentional. This is why non-binary folks get murdered !

    I’ve seen this kind of reasoning used more and more frequently by authoritarian leftists to justify silencing any and all dissent. Two cases that come to mind -the use of the words “insane” and “cult”. “Insane ” causes actual harm because it stigmatizes those who do crazy things like shoot up a theatre. Can’t have that. And “cult” is also a bad word because the authoritarian leftist who consider it to be so is a polytheist – she worships old Roman and Egyptian gods, and use of the word stigmatizes her beliefs and causes actual physical harm because reasons.

    Fyi, if anyone disagrees or even questions my points I am totes calling the cops and reporting a hate crime!!!!111111!!!!111

    • Cindy
      Posted December 12, 2016 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      Sub..

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 12, 2016 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      It is now hate speech to use the wrong pronouns to refer to a non-binary person even if unintentional.

      OK, I think it’s probably time to start torefer to people as “Citizen” – no, sorry, that would discriminate against visitors, illegals, asylum-seekers, etc. How about “товарич” – or would that discriminate aganst those without any Russian?
      “LE” (abbreviation for “Legal Entity”) might work.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 12, 2016 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

        How about ‘it’ ?

        😉

        cr

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 12, 2016 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

          I save “it” for smelly things on my shoe while in the presence of maiden aunts. And politicians.

      • David Duncan
        Posted December 12, 2016 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

        Nothing wrong with ‘Comrade’.

      • Paul
        Posted December 13, 2016 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        “Life-form”

        • Diane G.
          Posted December 13, 2016 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

          Anti-mineral discrimination.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted December 13, 2016 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

            🙂

            Beat me to it.

            cr

          • merilee
            Posted December 13, 2016 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

            Yeah, you might hurt the feewings of rocks!

    • steve
      Posted December 13, 2016 at 4:59 am | Permalink

      Hey sugar….Take a walk on the wild side; and then sing doo de doo de doo, de doo de doo de doo de doo……

  10. chris moffatt
    Posted December 12, 2016 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    I assume that this young woman, in a spirit of reciprocity which these snoflakes all seem to posess, has no opinion on men’s rights – her being a woman and all.

  11. Robert Ryder
    Posted December 12, 2016 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    It worries me greatly that we are about to enter the Trump era (ugh!), which may possibly mark the beginning of one of the most dangerous times we will ever face, not only in the U.S. and western hemisphere but the world, and much of the left is still focusing on making sure that no one is ever, ever offended or has to deal with difficult issues. Donald Trump is going to be president! Don’t you get that? Let’s focus on reality. We can’t afford to be fragile or to lose focus in the fight that lies ahead.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted December 12, 2016 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      Not only that, but if you say that this kind of behavior is justified, you leave yourself open to some other power base deciding what is good and what is bad.

  12. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 12, 2016 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Seems no one at Fraser enjoys freedom of conscience, or a right to free expression, except the privileged little darlings who go to school there (and it unclear from this incident whether even they do if they hold improper opinions).

    FWIW, the author of the quoted article is confused as to the meaning of “apologia.” An apologia is what AT should have presented, in lieu of the apology he gave.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 12, 2016 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      I caught that apologia too and yes an apologia would have been far more interesting.

    • Carl
      Posted December 12, 2016 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      An apologia is what AT should have presented, in lieu of the apology he gave.

      The result couldn’t have been any worse, he would have felt a lot better, and, most importantly, it would have been the right thing to do.

  13. DrBrydon
    Posted December 12, 2016 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    “Two-spirit” is new to me.

    • Ray Little
      Posted December 12, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      I believe it’s the equivalent of gay or trans in some aboriginal cultures. I wonder how many of the students at this school come from the Res?

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted December 12, 2016 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

        Is a two-spirit also suffering from multiple personality disorder? Someone hasn’t thought that through. Or more likely, has thought it through and decided “we can sue in both directions!”

    • Craw
      Posted December 12, 2016 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Dangerous admission.

  14. Ray Little
    Posted December 12, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Oh, but think of the children. Actually, if I were a parent with a son or daughter (or a non-binary offspring) at this school, I would have them out of it the next day, and send them to a school where real life was allowed to intrude once in a while. These kids are being raised in a bubble, and like lab-rats raised in a sterile environment, they are going to be laid low by the real world, when (and if) they encounter it.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted December 12, 2016 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      The problem is I think that too many of them won’t ever come into contact with the real world. They’re wealthy enough that they’ll go through life getting their own way.

      I wonder if any of these kids would understand why we have a problem with what happened here. They’ll probably assume that we’re anti-abortion for instance, even though most of us are pto-choice.

      • Posted December 12, 2016 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        I am not sure about the first half. I am not in touch with people rich enough not to work, but it seems to me that the world of the rich is quite turbulent today, with the periodic financial crises that easily could get you bankrupt. Also, children of rich parents are used to luxury life, which makes things more difficult for them. I knew a woman who boasted that she had accustomed her son to having money. He ended up in emigration.

        • Tim Harris
          Posted December 13, 2016 at 6:49 am | Permalink

          turbulent – rather like the world of the poor, perhaps?

          • Posted December 13, 2016 at 11:00 am | Permalink

            In the world of the poor, there is also much turbulence, but most people there start poor and end poor. In the world of the rich, it is quite possible to start rich and end poor. The opposite of the American dream.

            • Merilee
              Posted December 13, 2016 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

              John Cleese on PC

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted December 13, 2016 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

                Oh, ++++ !

                (And I do like his joke –
                Q. How do you make God laugh?
                A. Tell him your plans.
                Love it!)

                cr

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 12, 2016 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        That’s the thing about the rich — they’re different from you and me.

  15. Posted December 12, 2016 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    I teach in the B.C. public school system. The lack of job security is one of the reasons I don’t teach in private schools, the other being that most of them pay less than I would earn in a public school.

    Those of us in public education are a bit concerned about the current provincial government, which appears to be trying to underfund and dismantle the public school system while increasing funding to private schools, which make them more affordable/accessible. This is of benefit to the government as they don’t have to spend as much on education, nor do they have to negotiate contracts with the teacher’s union.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 12, 2016 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      If the pay and job security are worse, how do private schools attract the quality of teachers that justify such steep tuition prices?

      What you describe with the BC provincial government is precisely what we can expect down here if Betsy DeVos gets confirmed as the new US Secretary of Education.

      • Diane G.
        Posted December 13, 2016 at 1:52 am | Permalink

        That’s almost always the case with private schools. No union.

        They get some really…strange characters, esp. at some of the boarding schools. They also get brand new teachers waiting for a position to open up in the public schools.

        That said, my kids went to private elementary school and most of the teachers were pretty good, some excellent. Those were there just because they loved to teach, and usually had a spouse with a much better paying job.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 12, 2016 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      I teach in the B.C. public school system. The lack of job security is one of the reasons I don’t teach in private schools,

      This is what your trae union is for. Or does the State ban union membership – on the grounds that “it’s not illegal if the State does it”?
      I wouldn’t be surprised if the private schools banned (or just refused to employ) unionised teachers. But I’m still not sure what they could do to complain if a teacher turned up at the employment tribunal with a lawyer provided by their insurance fund – i.e. trade union.

  16. pablo
    Posted December 12, 2016 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    If the above account is true then that girl will go on to sow ruin with every future teacher and employer she has. That school did her, the teacher, and society a disservice.

  17. Posted December 12, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    From the provided link for the school:

    VISION, MISSION, AND VALUES

    Vision
    Changing Destiny by Changing Minds.

    Mission
    We celebrate the unique strengths of individuals with dyslexia and language-based learning differences, empowering students with choice and opportunity.

    Values
    We believe in the value of Personalized Learning embodied through RAISE:

    Resilience: Having the courage to persevere

    Acceptance: Demonstrating respect, empathy and openness in our community

    Innovation: In teaching and learning

    Self-Reliance: Utilizing personal strengths and resources to become independent

    Excellence: In delivery and standards

    Oh my, just a little cognitive dissonance between the school’s mission statement and the bizarre treatment of the teacher. Just a tad.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted December 12, 2016 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      I’m a cynic and have learned through bitter experience to beware of any organization (or person) that goes around ostentatiously flaunting all this “Values”and “Mission” crap, broken down to mindless but lofty sounding bullet points and acronyms of self-congratulatory, virtuous claptrap about “Changing Destiny, Changing Minds,” and all the other hoo-ha. Cognitive dissonance (and whitened-sepulchre hypocrisy) of the sort you speak of reigns in that world.

      • Posted December 12, 2016 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        + 1. I particularly beware voting for such individuals and parties, though, unfortunately, they are often the only ones at the market.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 12, 2016 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        I do so agree. The bullshit quotient is high with this one.

        cr

      • Diane G.
        Posted December 13, 2016 at 1:57 am | Permalink

        Yeah, but sadly, it’s a fad that swept through most organizations in the recent past. Every school and corporation had to have mission statements, etc.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted December 13, 2016 at 3:54 am | Permalink

          I’m pretty sure a flourishing cottage industry sprung up writing these things. I expect they had a bit of software along the lines of the Deepak Generator:

          [Insert name of company]… mumble mumble committed to excellence … mumble mumble passionate… mumble mumble customer expectations… mumble mumble market leader… mumble mumble innovative processes… that will be a thousand dollars thank you.

          cr

          • rickflick
            Posted December 13, 2016 at 8:22 am | Permalink

            A company I’m familiar with changed the company mission and slogan every time there was a significant change in management – which was every 5 or 10 years. They were always pretty similar with words from a list seemingly thrown in pseudo randomly. One time they came up with one line that caught my attention – “Results count, effort doesn’t”. There is a glaring contradiction within a quasi-research engineering setting that isn’t hard to recognize. But, the management types came up with this beauty as a way to lift productivity. If it had not been completely ignored it would have achieved the exact opposite.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted December 13, 2016 at 9:56 am | Permalink

              That’s a bizarre slogan. As long as you do something easy it’s okay because it gets results. There is no mention of “good” results.

              • Merilee
                Posted December 13, 2016 at 10:03 am | Permalink

                Yeah, it’s like when stuff is advertised as “Quality”, or, even worse, “Life-style”, as if you can’t have crappy quality or lifestyle…

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted December 13, 2016 at 10:53 am | Permalink

                I know. That’s why when I list project success criteria, I say “high quality” then I define that: by “high quality” this means…. then all that stuff is measurable that I list. Otherwise, it’s just weasel words.

              • merilee
                Posted December 13, 2016 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

                good!

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted December 13, 2016 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

                Absolutely agree with Merilee there. Every time I see ‘quality’ or, especially, ‘lifestyle’, that thought goes through my mind.

                (That’s quite independently of my extreme cynicism when faced with all the other ‘positive’ buzzwords – there’s one TV ad for tin roofs that gets me going all the time, “Ironclad delivers choices to enhance your lifestyle”)

                cr

              • merilee
                Posted December 13, 2016 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

                “Ironclad” tin roofs?? LOL.

    • Merilee
      Posted December 12, 2016 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      BULLSHIT

      Aplenty

  18. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted December 12, 2016 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    “We celebrate the unique strengths of individuals with dyslexia and language-based learning differences”

    Translation: A bunch of precious little brats with rich daddies and borderline mental disorders. And some poor sod is trying to teach them ethics?

    (Okay, so I’m being unfair to some of them. But only some)

    cr

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted December 12, 2016 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      ‘… learning *differences*…’ ?

      And I thought they meant ‘difficulties’. Gosh, silly me. I am guilty of negative thoughts.

      cr

  19. Posted December 12, 2016 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    “…training” given by QMUNITY, an organization for LGBTQQ2S (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning and two-spirit) people.”

    What are “two-spirit” people? Are there rules for 0S (zero-spirit) people, or people with more than two?

    When are we going to be able to accept and care about all people the way they are?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted December 13, 2016 at 3:59 am | Permalink

      I’m a two-spirit person. Vodka and kahlua. Black Russians, in other words. Delicious!

      cr

    • somer
      Posted December 13, 2016 at 4:21 am | Permalink

      Perhaps they are spiritualists? they plainly want and attract students of other worldly persuasion

  20. Wunold
    Posted December 13, 2016 at 2:39 am | Permalink

    he had no right to an opinion on the subject of abortion because he was a man.

    The student should go to the gender training of her own school to learn that

    “no one is 100-per-cent male or female” and that everyone is somewhere on the “gender spectrum.”

    I wonder how the school administration would solve this conundrum.

  21. Mike
    Posted December 13, 2016 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Ok, I get the Gay,Lesbian,Trans,Bisexual,but
    queer, questioning and two-spirit? WTF, I’m in my 70,s and as such would be written off as a grumpy old fart, which is pretty much true,but seriously ?the world’s going fucking mad.

  22. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted December 13, 2016 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    I always thought ‘queer’ *was* ‘gay’, being defined exactly the same way. Which raises the intriguing question, if queers aren’t gays, what are they?

    cr

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted December 13, 2016 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      That was a follow-up to Mike’s comment, with which I totally agree, btw.

      cr


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