LEGAL SUCCESS IS NOT HAVING YOUR 'DAY IN COURT'
...It is a matter of letting the other side have their day in court
1) Under ORIGINS (2016)sub-heading, I deal with the case of senior West Vancouver teacher, Ken Raison, given the boot for so-called incompetence from West Vancouver Secondary School in 1978 by principal Jim Carter (Deputy Minister in 1985 whom guided the imposed BILL 35 into law for a single case - mine). As the story was told to me (I did not know Raison personally although he was described to me as being of above average intellect); Raison successfully sued Carter for docking him pay for working in the school rather than attending a professional day. The knives were out and after 3 consecutive negative professional Reports over two years, he was dismissed. (As an aside here, professional Reports make sense in the first two years of teaching to acquire the necessary permanent teaching certificate but no other profession has such Reports. In brief, they are used by weak principals to keep control. As a consequence of our two cases; I submit that no ethical administrator in Canada will give a negative professional Report which, in turn, can create problems in other directions.
2) Key to Raison's dismissal were a pack of parental letters complaining about him which Raison never saw until he was in court hence the usual 'how did you respond?' question went unanswered. An ethical arbitrator would not have permitted this evidence on those grounds alone. That feature left such a bad taste in West Vancouver that a succeeding administrator told us in a neighboring school that he would review all letters passing along only those he felt the teacher need deal with and destroy the others. It was a good answer as a teacher provided such information would feel obliged to pursue any parental complaint even that on a nuisance level.
3) Deputy Minister Carter in 1985 felt he was in a jam when I provided him with alleged fraud on the part of Principal John Williams in my first year at West Vancouver Secondary where I had transferred after 16 years in a neighboring school. (Occasional teacher transfers are encouraged as a positive move.) Williams wrote a Professional Report on me as is consistent with new arrivals in the first year at a school. The problem was that he wrote two accounts - one positive, the other negative - in which I caught him in this fraudulent action.
4) On the 19th of September, I notified Williams of a strange note slipped under my door, claiming that I was the target of a student plot made in the summertime before my arrival in imitation of a similar ploy used in Raison's case; namely, to excite parents into writing complaints to the principal. At that time, Williams claimed that he had heard nothing.
5) Williams was well on his way to completing a positive Professional Report by February when there was an incident which involved the Superintendent and Principal setting me up without notice before a parent whom, in the ensuing meeting, did not wish to voice his complaint. Afterwards, I blasted Williams and the Superintendent for this subterfuge. That's when William's came back to review 'an additional class' at which time I sent all my material (I kept copious notes on everything since Raison's dismissal in 1978.) to Victoria. BILL 35 was my answer.
6) In the first week of November of 1984, I was called down to the School Board by a 'terrified' Director of Instruction who had taken the heat for the Raison dismissal. He showed me a pile of parental letters in which he claimed that there was 'nothing in them'. I reserved my opinion on one of the letters. Further, I arranged to have a student testify before this Director to the student 'prank' being organized during the summer before my arrival at the new school which smacked of the pattern set out earlier for Raison. He ignored that confession and went into hiding even with the first scheduling of the arbitration but had to surface later on. He was a broken man who took early retirement. He was lucky that he wasn't fired as I submit the Board should have done rather than giving him early retirement with an additional two years pay. Here's that story. On May 01,1985, Superintendent Carlin ordered the Director of Instruction (name escapes me but there had been a complete fall-out between the two since 'Raison' in 1978) to write a follow-up Professional Report on Williams negative account which was meant to be Positive to end the battle with me. On June 01, I notified the Superintendent that the Director had not appeared to which Carlin ordered him to 'drop everything and get in there' which the Director did on the last day and a half of the school year. His written comments were adjudged as being 'positive' as viewed by my colleagues but here is the key point: He did not label his account as a Professional Report and pooh poohed my observation that due to him, BILL 35 would be used against me. At that point Carlin met privately with me and offered to withdraw Williams Report which I turned down (as he could claim to withdraw it only to float two negative Reports the following year thus giving me the 'Raison treatment'. In that meeting, he threatened me with the use of BILL 35. Events moved rapidly to the end of June after I notified the staff of what was happening in a final staff meeting. As Carlin told me later, that publicity forced his hand. The minute notes yet to be revealed after 33 years, I submit, would show that the two former WV Union leaders approached Chairperson Margot Furk and her successor, Mike Smith, after that staff meeting and concocted a lay-off in which I would not be permitted to Appeal. Apparently the local Union voted in favour of this scheme with its President, Maureen Chiarniello being a reluctant opponent. That's how this matter became 'the case that was never meant to be'. That's what the Justice System of Canada and over 50 judges would sacrifice in order to maintain this secret of which cover-up ultimately destroyed the Justice System. ON A.G. Carolyn Mulroney for the Ford government has been challenged to reverse that proposition on pain of sacrificing her political career in the upcoming $20 million fraud case based entirely on disclosure before it can progress.
7) I won the arbitration on all counts but a crooked arbitrator is a crooked arbitrator and he gave the win to the School Board not believing that because I was looking at a 'sweetheart deal' that the matter would be contested. He was wrong as I changed lawyers and the Court quashed the arbitration ruling the arbitrator, Louis Lindholm, to be patently unreasonable . The next 33 years has been spent trying to get compensation (includes pension rights) and is now a $20 million civilian fraud action in Ontario which includes legal personnel (over 50 judges plus oversight bodies) in a case which has seen the demise of the Canadian Justice System of Canada. My advice to anyone planning to contest a dismissal is to pay ($10,000?) out of their own pocket for their own lawyer to double team the Union lawyer.
8) As to the imposed BILL 35, both sides agreed that a need to lay-off a teacher was the plateau test. No school trustee took the stand to testify as to lay-off figures (i.e. to commit perjury) as neither legal counsel was asking for their evidence nor was the arbitrator who realized that he was looking at a 'fix' and responded accordingly. In actual fact, 16 new staff were hired with any number of positions which I could have held. The Assistant Superintendent responsible for staffing, Bill May, claimed that he did not recommend the lay-off of any teacher in 1985 and that the Trustees did not sanction my lay-off which he claimed was done solely on the authority of the Superintendent. His testimony was conspicuous by its absence from the arbitrator's Report. Notice of my lay-off did not appear in the end of year School Board meeting record.
9) In the 'shell game' at WV Secondary, a Home Economics teacher senior to me as well as the Vice Principal divided my load and a new teacher was hired for Home Ec. Her private opinion of me?...you are good at finding things out.
10) Race of one: As to which staff were possible lay-off victims, another Social Studies teacher suffering from psychological problems was on extended leave. When, in arbitration, asked as to why Williams had not written a Professional Report on this teacher, his response was that he did not wish to add to the teacher's dilemma. Further, he added, there were no complaints against him. (Of course not, he was absent much of the time.) In comparing my Professional Report against all others on staff, it turned out that the system regarding periodical Reports was badly mangled; one teacher going 16 years without one. (Generally, administrators dislike this process as a waste of their time.) When Williams was asked as to how he could evaluate a French teacher considering that he did not speak a word of French, he amazed everyone by claiming that he could evaluate a French teacher in teaching the intransitive verb...er, but the instructions were in English, prompted his lawyer? Nope, entirely in French, claimed Williams with casual bravado.
11) Most teachers in my case told the Board's lawyers what they could do with their subpoenas, but two Grade 8 female teacher counselors took the stand and when asked what my response was to complaints brought to them, they stated that they did not approach me as per directions from the administration so that they never did find out what was behind any complaints. That latter tidbit was conspicuous by its absence from the arbitrator's Report. Those students were also part of the student prank outlined above.
12) This is a hard one but it must be said...should teachers give evidence in court? Based on my experiences; absolutely not although it is noted that Raison had solid support from his colleagues. I was offered similar support from colleagues but I declined asking what for as lay-off for economic conditions has nothing to do with a teacher's professional teaching capabilities which are handled elsewhere in the Schools Act. Even BILL 35 was quite specific in stating that it was in addition to the School Act and did not displace any provisions thereto. On the other side of the coin, in Ottawa, one 14 year old puzzled boy wondered why teachers taking the stand in a pedophile case were putting him down unmercifully? Eventually, the teacher concerned changed his plea to guilty. It was a bad scene all around.
13) In conclusion, this Protest Placard says it best: STAY OUT OF A CANADIAN COURTROOM UNLESS YOU FIRST BUY THE JUDGE And, oh yes, stay off the witness stand...it was the smartest thing I ever did much to the chagrin of the Union lawyer.
14) And you know the saddest part of the above scenario? That the Justice System is not alone in its corruption as all Canadian bureaucracies suffer from a lack of effective oversight bodies. The canary in Canada's democratic coal mine is dead.
15) One interesting aside was in a private conversation with the Superintendent; he said that he didn't know what I did in that classroom, but the parents were all up in the air. They never tell me, I responded. That's because they are all afraid of you. Well, that was certainly news to me as their fun-loving offspring were not afraid of me. In terms of the fear factor, which we all possess, I claim that it is what we fear which very much defines us...is that what I am really guilty of? In short, I don't frighten little kids but I scare the bejeezes out of their corporate parents.