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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 16, Special Issue, September 2003

Fired councillor speaks out

by Dale Townsend

No longer is there any attempt to hide the naked reality; the thin velvet glove is openly off the iron fist. The hammering of teachers is about to begin in earnest. To use the term "college of teachers" to refer to this body is to make a hollow mockery of self-regulation, professionalism, or the idea of a college. There are numerous indications of the perversity of the present organization.

The whole attempt to limit the representation of the college members to 8 out of 20 is in itself highly offensive, but the comment by George Puil that there is still no certainty of the election of a superintendent or administrator is even more so. The free selection of representatives is usually known as democracy.

The swearing of an oath of office and the notion of a process for the removal of a council member are again offensive. One can only presume that any process to remove any councillor, but particularly an elected one, would be overseen by staff. In short, both these proposals would suggest a greater ability to direct and guide on the part of the staff of the college.

But the worst of the changes at this time are the proposed amendment to the Teaching Profession Act to allow college discipline to happen at the same time as the grievance process is happening. It would be easy to see a situation of one BCTF lawyer defending at the board level and another being needed for the college level. And there would no longer be the moral pressure of recognizing that the local discipline process has not found culpability and the resulting willingness to spare all the expense and trauma of a second process. This eagerness to start the investigation and "punishment" of a teacher is really quite unseemly.

Dale Townsend is a teacher in Salmon Arm and former college councillor.

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