In 1997, I was fired by the Peel Board of Education, after a 24-year career as a high school English instructor. Their reasons? My alleged “contempt and persistent disregard for multiculturalism and ethnocultural equity” which were “core values” ( not, apparently, reading, writing, math or computer literacy) of the Board. My specific final sins were attending and speaking on my own time at a memorial service in Urbana, Illinois for the late Prof. Revilo Oliver, an alleged anti-Semite and organizing, again on my own time, off school property the Second Canadian Free Speech Conference in Vancouver in March, 1996. I unsuccessfully grieved the firing. Then, the Board launched a complaint with the Ontario College of Teachers, which licenses teachers in the province. The hearings staggered on over several years. The panel that heard my case evinced palpable hostility to me. They had to be reminded by their own lawyer, when a scheduling conflict arose, that an Ontario Superior Court had higher standing and, therefore, precedence in scheduling than they did – they being merely an administrative tribunal. They stripped me of my teaching licence, published my name and their reasons. Now, note, I was not accused of ever having behaved improperly with a student.
In an October, 2007 decision, the Ontario College of Teachers ruled: “The panel received evidence that Fromm, while employed in Peel, co-founded and was research director for Citizens for Foreign Aid Reform (C-FAR) and co-founded the Canadian Association for Free Expression (CAFE). Both organizations espouse beliefs and values contrary to the principles of multiculturalism and tolerance.” A reader will note the Orwellian irony that CAFÉ, dedicated to the tolerance of freedom of speech, is deemed intolerant. “During a speech for C-FAR in 1989, Fromm discussed the ‘threat to our rights and freedoms from multiculturalism.’ Fromm associated with skinhead supporters at a public meeting of the Toronto Mayor’s Committee on Community and Race Relations; participated in a Martyrs’ Day Rally sponsored by the Heritage Front in conjunction with C-FAR; … heckled a native Canadian speaker at the 1989 Mayor’s Committee meeting with ‘scalp him’; and attended, organized and spoke at events involving white supremacists or similar organizations. … Fromm ‘spoke against multiculturalism and non-white immigration, used racist language in relation to Jews, Asians and Aboriginal people while participating in public events involving individuals and organizations with racist views,’ the panel said in its written decision.”
Recently, the Toronto Star has done a series of investigative reports on the Ontario College of Teachers’ handling of real teacher misconduct. The clear implication from their findings is that you can call a teenage girl a slut and e-mail her your desires to have sex with her, you’ll still be okay. However, be an immigration critic or stand up for free speech and you’re declared unfit to teach in politically correct Ontario.
“If you are a teacher, you can get away with a lot and keep your job. Toronto high school drama teacher Richard Burdett wrote more than 1,300 intimate, sexually charged instant messages to a female high school student, including a vivid description of how he had dreamt of performing oral sex on her. On a Grade 11 and 12 school trip to England, Burdett also brought four pyjama-clad female students into his dormitory bedroom and cuddled on his bed with them in an activity he called ‘spooning.’ Later, telling one of the girls his wife would be away for most of July, the then 40-year-old Burdett messaged, ‘We can throw a spoonfest if you want.’ … For Burdett’s breaches of trust, the Toronto District School Board handed him a 30-day unpaid suspension in 2007. Burdett was then transferred out of his high school and sent to a teaching post at Toronto’s Adult Education Centre while his case meandered through the teachers’ watchdog system (the Ontario College of Teachers). In February of 2011, Burdett was given a 12-month suspension but told that if he completed a ‘boundary violation’ course he could be back in class by September. He is now listed as a member in ‘good standing’ and is cleared to teach again. (Toronto Star, October 2, 2011)
“Here are some of the people licensed in Ontario to teach your children: * A teacher who disciplined students by warning they would ‘spend time with a pedophile’ and if the behaviour got worse it ‘would be without vaseline.’* A high school teacher whose female students said he called them ‘sluts,’ pole dancers, ‘whore’ and commented that tongue studs were for ‘oral sex.’ … * A drunk teacher who sexually assaulted a store clerk. *A teacher who stole money students deposited with her for school trips to Europe. … * A teacher who flirted with a Grade 7 girl, sending her what a judge ruled (though the teacher was acquitted of sexual assault and exploitation charges) were ‘sexually charged’ text messages including ‘lots of love’ and ‘can’t stop thinking about you, I didn’t want you to leave today.’The identity of scores of bad teachers and dozens more each year is kept secret by the profession’s watchdog — the Ontario College of Teachers. That’s because the watchdog — a self-regulatory body — granted them anonymity after the teacher pleaded guilty or ‘no contest’ to certain allegations. Typically, the teachers received a reprimand or short suspension.In some cases, a summary is published on the watchdog’s website and in its quarterly newsletter, without the teacher’s name or school. Some of the cases — particularly those dealing with incompetence — are never published at all. … When it comes to keeping secret the names of some offenders, College Registrar Michael Salvatori said it is done if the teacher had a ‘momentary lapse of judgment.’ Salvatori said that they make the decision in ‘the public interest.’ Salvatori said College rules prevented him from commenting on any of the cases.
After the Star raised this and other issues with the College this summer, it hired respected retired judge Patrick LeSage just before Labour Day to examine its disciplinary practices. One of LeSage’s jobs is to “consider whether the College’s communication and publication practices prior to and following a hearing meet current standards of transparency.”
To determine how many teachers’ identities are kept secret, the Star first obtained all published decisions of teacher wrongdoing.Each year, the Ontario College of Teachers makes a finding of wrongdoing in about 90 cases. The Star obtained copies of all decisions that the College makes public on its website or in its magazine. The College said it publishes these decisions to educate members and show to the public that it is doing its job of protecting students. More and more, we found, problem teachers are shielded from the public. Of the 49 cases published in 2010, 35 did not identify the teacher. Of the 43 cases published in 2009, 20 did not identify the teacher. Of the 38 cases published in 2008, 5 did not identify the teacher.” (Toronto Star, September 29, 2011) They had no compunction about naming me!However, the OCT does not like whistleblowers. They are ruthlessly punished and named: “One teacher the College did identify was a teacher whose only crime was to break their secrecy rules. James Black, a teacher and former discipline committee member, was publicly named by the College and suspended for two years because the College suspected he leaked information to the media. The committee suspected (but could not prove) that Black gave information to a CTV reporter in 2006 who was probing the College’s practice of allowing teachers convicted of sex crimes to be reinstated after their licence was revoked. The College claims Black leaked information to CTV News about a teacher convicted of sexual exploitation in 1990, who was jailed 15 months and later sought reinstatement. In 2009, the committee fined its former member, Black, $1,000, and suspended him for two years. The College ruled that Black was guilty of a serious ‘breach of confidentiality’ which ‘may have damaged the professional image of the College and its members.’ The need for a strong general deterrent is imperative in this matter.” – Paul Fromm