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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 18, Number 7, May/June 2006

The Province apologizes for attack on teacher

by Janet Amsden

An 89-word paragraph published in The Province newspaper is the result of a six-year campaign for justice by teacher Marc Beaudet. In the paragraph, the paper apologized for its unwarranted comments on Beaudet’s teaching, which focused on the use of a ‘black hole’ in Beaudet’s Mission classroom.

In my opinion, the paper had much to apologize for. Between March 2 and March 10, 2000, The Province ran several stories based on information by one or two angry parents, without presenting Beaudet’s side of the story. The Province reported that Beaudet routinely sent students to a ‘black hole’ in his classroom and that one student was forced to sit on the floor for seven weeks. The Province did not report what Marc Beaudet told The Province reporter: that the ‘trou noir’ was a space the students had created after a class meeting as a time-out area for students who chose not to do their school work. A special education assistant supervised the area and it contained chairs and the class computers. Students went there voluntarily and no student was forced to sit on the floor for seven weeks.

Beaudet, who had not received any complaints regarding the ‘black hole’ prior to the publication of The Province articles, received overwhelming support from parents of students in his class, his principal, and his colleagues.

Beaudet has finally received a public apology. On March 6, 2006, The Province printed the following paragraph on page 3:

For the record

On March 2–6 and 10, 2000, The Province published articles about a controversy in a Mission Francophone school over classroom discipline used by teacher Marc Beaudet. Despite the differences of opinion regarding the discipline, nothing in the articles was intended to suggest that Mr. Beaudet is a poor or uncaring teacher. The principal and many parents complimented and supported Mr. Beaudet, and the Francophone education authority concluded there was no cause to discipline Mr. Beaudet. The Province acknowledges that he faced difficult classroom management challenges.

Janet Amsden teaches with Marc Beaudet at Fairview Elementary School, Maple Ridge.

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