Paul Fromm Stripped of His Teaching Certificate, Speaks Out
Freedom; Posted on: 2007-11-24 11:01:41 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
This ruthless punishment was meant as a warning to any independent thinkers among the teaching profession brave enough or foolish enough to speak their minds. Teachers are encouraged to be mindless parrots for political correctness- indoctrinators, not educators.
by Paul Fromm
It was a Soviet-style politically correct kangaroo court, plain and simple. The hostility toward me from the panel of three Discipline Committee members was palpable and remarked on by supporters who, from time to time, attended at the hearings which were held listlessly from January, 2005 to June, 2007. In the end, the decision was harsh, the punishment brutal and the decision meant as a message to other dissidents who might be teachers.
First, a bit of history:
1991. Fellow teacher, conservative Christian Malcolm Ross is removed from the classroom in New Brunswick after Canadian Jewish Congress complaints about his writings and letters-to-the-editor which are highly critical of Zionism.
1991. Now, it's my turn. The Canadian Jewish Congress starts agitation to have me fired from my position as an English teacher for my immigration and pro-free speech stands, taken on my own time, off school property. Bernie Farber says: "The next day, we got on to our friends in the press and told them who Paul Fromm was." The Canadian Jewish Congress made my profession an issue.
1992. The Canadian Jewish Congress buys a videotape of a private Heritage Front meeting and shops it around to the press. The Toronto Sun- yes, that's correct, the "rightwing" Toronto Sun, does a front page expose, "Teacher Addresses Neo-Nazi Rally." There's a huge media frenzy with the Canadian Jewish Congress leading the pack howling for my job. No one denies that I'm a first rate teacher. Robert Lee, then Director of Education for the Peel Board, tells the press I'm "an exemplary teacher." My evaluations are first rate and I'm in demand for summer school and night school teaching assignments, because the proper authorities know I'm a capable and competent instructor in English and writing.
1993. After a 7-month investigation, lawyer Jeff Cowan concludes that I have never discriminated in the classroom. A long and confusing report is the result of what my union, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, says is the most intensive investigation ever of a teacher in this Province, in a non-criminal matter. The NDP (socialist) Minister of Education receives this report and, although he has the power to suspend or revoke my teaching certificate, he does nothing. The Canadian Jewish Congress complains to the Ontario Teachers' Federation. They have the power to hold hearings if someone complaints about a teacher. They hold no hearings, as my outside activities clearly do not constitute professional misconduct.
1993. I am transferred into Adult Education with a stern warning that repetition of these or similar incidents- my crimes include having stood up for historian David Irving's right to speak and having called multiculturalism a threat to free speech- may lead to my firing. My union lawyer phones and writes the Peel Board for clarification asking just what it is I can do or say. They refuse to answer.
1996. The Supreme Court scoffs at Malcolm Ross's defence of freedom of religion and belief and upholds his removal from the classroom. Now, it's my turn again. The Peel Board of Education hires anti-racist professional Alan Dutton of the Canadian Anti-Racism Education Research Society in Vancouver to conduct a secret investigation of me. I am told nothing about this.
1997. January opens with a Happy New Year from the Board's Bardadian Director of Education Howard Brathwaite. I am to be terminated after a 24 year careers as an English instructor. My sins? "On November 19, 1994, the Member participated in the 1994 Revilo P. Oliver Memorial Symposium in Urbana, Illinois, organized by the National Alliance, a white supremacist organization run by William Pierce, a former member of the American Nazi party, [THIS IS A LIE AND A SMEAR. SAM DICKSON, NOT THE NATIONAL ALLIANCE, ORGANIZED THIS MEMORIAL.] at which symposium Mr. Oliver, a recognized racist, was honoured. At this event, the Member: shared the stage with David Duke, a former head of the Ku Klux Klan in the United States of America; publicly described Mr. Oliver as a 'giant in his field' and as a 'man greatly admired'" My second sin: "The Member organized the March 1996 British Columbia Second Canadian Free Speech Symposium in Surrey, British Columbia, and at that symposium, consorted publicly with known racists, speaking publicly about their right to make racist statements." So, going to a memorial service and organizing a free speech conference were proof to the Peel Board of my disrespect "for multiculturalism and ethnocultural equity" which, they said, are "core values" (nor reading, writing, math, or computer literacy) of the education system.
1998-2002. A long grievance slowly works its way through over 20 days of hearings. The hearings open April Fools Day, 1998 and a decision arrives March 8, 2002 by a 2-1 vote upholding the firing.
2003. The Peel Board in a final act of spite files a complaint of professional misconduct against me with the Ontario College of Teachers.
2005. Hearings begin. There will be 12 days of hearings in all.
2007. April 19, a Jewish Defence League protest is held outside the hearings. A JDL member attempts to choke me and is arrested. June 13 hearings conclude. Samhain (Halloween) the Discipline Committee issues its decision that I lose my teaching certificate and that this decision and my name be published as a warning to others who dare think for themselves outside the politically correct box and dare express those thoughts.
The Committee's decision did not dismiss a single accusation against me or find a single incident complained of to be a legitimate exercise of free speech. I was found guilty of professional misconduct- a very subjective term, but one usually associated with incompetence or mistreatment of students- for opposing massive Third World immigration, criticizing multiculturalism and defending free speech. "The Committee finds the Member guilty of professional misconduct under the Ontario College of Teachers Act and Regulation Made Under the Teaching Profession Act in effect before the establishment of the Ontario College of Teachers (1996) because the Member's activities commenced prior to the College's existence."
It's a huge relief to learn that the case is not about freedom of speech. "This case is not about the Member's right to hold political views that are unpopular, or to participate in legal political activities. It is about whether a teacher who publicly expresses views which are contrary to the values of the profession and the education system, and which have a negative impact on the education system, is entitled to be a member of this College." So, immigration reform and free speech are against "the values of the profession and the education system." This devious two-step goes back to a 1989 book When Freedoms Collide by Allan Borovoy of the Canadian Civil Liberties Unions who dreamed up the notion that teachers should be free to advocate their political views, but having advocated controversial or, at least politically incorrect views, should not be allowed to teach. [Such free expression also exists in Cuba, Burma and North Korea.]
Among my crimes were the following:
*"In 1979, the Member co-founded and was research director for Citizens for Foreign Aid Reform Inc. (C-FAR), an organization which espouses beliefs and values contrary to the principles of multiculturalism and tolerance." A Canada first, much reduced foreign aid budget and immigration reform are contrary to the principles of "tolerance"?
*"In 1981, the Member co-founded the Canadian Association for Free Expression (CAFE), an organization which espouses beliefs and values contrary to the principles of multiculturalism and tolerance." So, free speech is contrary to "tolerance." Umm, and the earth is flat.
*"On March 11, 1989, the Member addressed a crowd of about 60 persons at a speaking engagement sponsored by C-FAR. The Member's speech discussed the 'threat to our rights and freedoms from multiculturalism.'" I'm living proof that multiculturalism has seriously curtailed freedom of speech for the Majority.
The Discipline Committee concluded: "When the Member chose to engage in political activities of an intensely public nature- writing articles, delivering speeches, attending provocative rallies- he opened the door to creating an effect on the school community that jeopardizes it as a viable learning environment, by its affect on the students, teachers and staff, and the public more broadly." Yet, I received a glowing evaluation of my teaching from my principal in 1992 during the media frenzy caused, not by my trying to be a publicity hound but by the Canadian Jewish Congress. There was no evidence of students being unable to learn in my class or, indeed, of any significant student complaints about my political views.
"There is no doubt that the Member's conduct is itself in conflict with the values of the education system. His expressed views that deny the basic equality and dignity of every person go to the very heart of the public education system." On the contrary, I treated all students fairly and equally and with dignity and there was no evidence to the contrary.
The punishment provisions of this harsh decision made it quite clear that I was being punished for my political views. "The Registrar of the Ontario College of Teachers is directed to revoke the Certificate of Qualification and Registration of the Member, which Certificate the Member is to surrender immediately to the Registrar.... The Member's participation in meetings and rallies, where racist and anti-multicultural views were expressed, brought significant media coverage to him and to the school with a resulting negative impact on the school community. This behaviour continued despite numerous written reprimands from his employer that his activities were inconsistent with board policies and his duties as a teacher. Throughout the hearing, the Member never indicated that he recognized the negative impact of his conduct on members of the school community and the Committee saw no evidence of any remorse by the Member."
The decision goes on the make a sweeping claim: "The Member expressed his views, antithetical to the policies and values of the society, of the community, of the Board and of the profession, in public forums that included known racists and racist organizations. The Member's pattern of conduct, which persisted over many years." What society? Freedom of speech and immigration reform are supported by vast numbers of Canadians.
Of course, because I wouldn't cringe and grovel like the average teacher at a discipline hearing who is there for sexual misconduct, the Committee noted with resentment my bad attitude: "The Committee saw no evidence of any remorse by the Member." Henceforth, teachers are to be mere propagandists for some vague state ideology: "A penalty other than revocation would send a message to other educators and to the public at large that the College is unwilling or unable to ensure that its members will work to implement legislated policies based on shared public values." There is apparently no right to dissent from government policy on one's own time as a teacher or to attempt to change of modify legislation.
Like a Soviet "people's court," the public humiliation of the dissenter is to serve as a grim warning to other would be free thinkers: "The Committee has determined in this case, that due to the nature of the Member's misconduct and the revocation of the Member's certificate, publication of the Member's name is warranted. Publication of the nature of the misconduct in which the Member engaged will deter members of the profession from similar off duty conduct. Publication of this Member's name gives additional impact to the message that if any member of the teaching profession behaves in a manner such as this Member, he or she will be identified to their peers and the public." Utter a dissent from political correctness as we, too, can do a Fromm on you. Teachers, be warned.
I contend that the decision is filled with errors of procedure and law.
Prior to 1997, Ontario teaching certificates were issued by the Minister of Education and could only be revoked or suspended by him, after a hearing of the Ontario Teachers' Federation (OTF). I was the most investigated teacher in a non-criminal matter ever in this Province. In 1992-1993, the NDP Minister of Education appointed lawyer Jeff Cowan in investigate my political activities. His report was a mixture of recommendations, but he did not recommend my dismissal. The Minister accepted the report and did nothing. The Canadian Jewish Congress loudly complained to the OTF and they didn't even hold a hearing- for the good reason that, in those days, the OTF would only recommend the loss of one's teaching certificate for a serious, and I mean, serious criminal conviction. There was no precedent for taking away a teaching certificate for the non-violent expression of one's political opinions on one's own time.
I argued at the hearings that this case was res judicata; that is, it had already been dealt with by the then competent authority, the Minister of Education.
The OCT was trying to nail me under the far more nebulous rules of the 1997 College of Teachers' Act. In July, 2005, they suffered a major setback in the Kalin case. Kalin clearly held that teachers accused of misconduct prior to 1997 must be governed by the old OTF rules and precedents. Kalin v. Ontario College of Teachers, from which leave to appeal was sought by the College and denied, found: "The principles applied by this Court in Cresman are nevertheless applicable. Prosecuting Mr. Kalin under a 1997 definition of misconduct for acts that are alleged to have occurred in 1991 offends the rule against retrospectivity.... Certainly the College has jurisdiction to proceed with complaints against those who are alleged to have been guilty of misconduct prior to 1996, but the College cannot judge that conduct based on 1997 standards."
When the high prices McCarthy Tetrault firm of College lawyers presented their book of authorities before their final summation, I was amazed to find no cases from the old Ontario Teachers Federation cases. It was to be those precedents that should be used to judge me.
In preparing my final submissions for this case, I sought access to rulings of the Ontario Teachers' Federation which had previously dealt with profession misconduct and discipline, prior to the coming into force of the College of Teachers' Act in 1997. I was unable to find any responsive material on the Internet nor through a search conducted on my behalf through Quicklaw. I, therefore, phoned the Ontario Teachers' Federation. I spoke to and wrote to Paul Howard of the OTF on June 10 to advance my request for access to the decisions of the Relations and Discipline Committee, having learned that the OTF still occasionally deals with cases. On his instructions, I wrote to Rhonda Kimberley-Young, General Secretary of OTF also requesting access to the decisions of the Relations and Discipline Committee. At the final day of my hearing, I sought an adjournment to obtain access to these crucial decisions. In its submissions on June 13, the College advised the Discipline Committee that it was not in possession of decisions by the old OTF Relations and Discipline Committee and, obviously no such references were in the College's "Book of Authorities."
So eager was the Committee to rush to judgment that it denied me the adjournment I sought. "At the conclusion of the hearing on June 13, 2007, the Member requested an adjournment of six months in order to provide him with time to access any records that the Ontario Teachers' Federation might have that would impact on the outcome of his hearing. The Member had only made initial contact with OTF on June 11, 2007. It was the Member's view that matters.
Previously dealing with professional misconduct and discipline by OTF prior to coming into force of the Ontario College of Teachers Act would have a significant influence on the deliberations of the Committee. The Committee denied this request on the basis that it was incumbent on both parties to bring forward all appropriate materials prior to the completion of the hearing. It was the College's position, that should the Member receive something from OTF that he thought to be relevant to the Committee's deliberations and provided that the Committee had not yet made a decision, then it would be possible for him to make Submissions in writing to the Committee. Following the Member's request, and subsequent communications with OTF counsel, a binder was located at the College entitled 'Relations and Discipline Precedents- Ontario Teachers' Federation'. This binder had been sent to the College in the very early days of the College's existence to assist its members in how the OTF Discipline and Relations Committee received considered and disposed of complaints of professional and unethical misconduct. By letter dated July 6, 2007, College counsel notified the Committee and the Member that the binder had been located. Consequently, the Committee granted an adjournment in order for the Member to review the contents of this binder and provide written submissions by September 14, 2007, based on information contained in the binder."
The discovery of the binder of cases provided almost a decade ago during the transition from the OTF regime to the Ontario College of Teachers was a scandal. Apparently, neither the college nor its high priced lawyers knew of its existence, yet, this binder contained the case law that the courts had directed the Discipline Committee to use in its determination. I was blamed for not having found this material earlier. Yet, it was the College and its lawyers whose duty it was to argue this material.
Having examined these sample cases, I now know why the College and the Discipline Committee was so reluctant to allow me proper time to study them.
So, clearly the College did have these decisions and its counsel should have referred to them in their submissions. Yet, I was entirely blamed by the Discipline Committee for not being prepared and my motion for an adjournment denied. With the new information, I was granted a very limited time extension to September 16 to study these redacted decisions and make submissions.
The Binder "Relations and Discipline Precedents- Ontario Teachers' Federation" contains a number of cases from the 1980s and early 1990s arranged by offence from assault through to willful damage. The vast majority had to do with inappropriate and usually criminal sexual contact with young people. Firstly, there are no cases in any way similar to mine. I found no case of a teacher being charged with unprofessional conduct for expressing his political or religious views on his own time off school property.
In a letter dated July 8m 1992 from David Stock and Louis Lenkinski of the Canadian Jewish Congress called on the OTF "to investigate and make a determination as to whether Paul Fromm's racist activities are in possible violation of your Act.... We are confident that the Ontario Teachers' Federation will deem it appropriate to launch an investigation in this most serious matter." Whether or not an investigation was launched, I cannot say, but the OTF never convened a discipline hearing, strongly suggesting that the interpretation of professional misconduct under the Teaching Professions Act is that the expression of political views did not constitute professional misconduct.
This supports my previous submissions that the Minister of Education, in 1992, requested an extensive investigation into my conduct. This resulted in the Cowan Report. The Minister, Dave Cooke, received the report and took no further action. Nor did he refer the matter to OTF for the good reason that, under the regulations then in place, my political views expressed on my own time would, in no way, have constituted misconduct. An examination of the cases in "Relations and Discipline Precedents- Ontario Teachers' Federation" reveals that to be found guilty of breaching Sec. 13 of the regulations The Teaching Professions Act:
A member shall strive at all times to achieve and maintain the highest degree of professional competence and to uphold the honour, dignity and ethical standards of the teaching profession
The offending teacher had to have been convicted of a serious offence under the Criminal Code or to have falsified his/her qualifications (and, therefore, be ineligible for a teaching certificate anyway). For instance, one shows a teacher convicted of aggravated assault contrary to Sec. 268 of the Criminal Code of Canada and willful damage [Sec. 430(4)] and sentenced to six months in prison. The Committee found the teacher in breach of Sec. 13 but felt that "it is unlikely he will be a danger to his pupils and is unlikely to be involved in this kind of criminal activity in the future." The Committee recommended a four year suspension of his teaching certificate, but the Minister of Education subsequently cancelled the certificate.
In an other case a teacher is convicted of two counts of assault causing bodily harm, contrary to Sec. 271(1)(b) and Sec. 266 of the Criminal Code and sentenced to 14 days in prison. The Committee found the conduct a breach of Sec. 13 of the Regulations, but concluded that "a reprimand is the most appropriate penalty." Even a conviction for gross indecency under Sec. 157 of the Criminal Code, which resulted in three months imprisonment and three years probation, did not result in the loss of the teacher's teaching certificate in yet another case. The Committee found the behaviour "in breach of Sections 13, 14(d) and (f) of the regulations and recommended a two year suspension of the teaching certificate, noting that the teacher "is a competent and talented teacher of Music."
Another teacher was convicted of stealing $200 worth of meat. The teacher was fined $400 and placed on one year's probation. The Committee found the teacher "to have not been in breach of Section 13" and recommended that the Minister take no action with regard tot he teacher's certificate.
In the matter of a teacher who pleaded guilty to seven counts of indecent assault on a male, two of sexual assault and one count of buggery and who was sentenced to two years less a day in prison, the Committee found the teacher in breach of Sec. 13 because "children were involved" and the teacher "had breached a professional trust placed in him as a teacher." For that reason the Committee recommended to the Minister that the teacher's certificate be cancelled.
A finding of a breach of Sec. 13 under the rules prior to 1997 required conviction for a serious offence under the Criminal Code. I have never been charged much less convicted of any offence under the Criminal Code. There are no instances in the OTF jurisprudence of a teacher being punished for expressing his political views on his own time. For these reasons, applying the jurisprudence of the time, all charges against me should be dismissed. The College was negligent in not knowing that it possessed this binder of OTF cases sent to them precisely to assist them in knowing the pre-1997 OTF jurisprudence. The College was further negligent in making no effort to find pre-1997 precedents or to argue these in their submissions. Instead the Committee blamed me for having left inquiries into such precedents to such a late date.
Yet, amazingly, in its decision the Discipline Committee ruled: "The Member offered no judicial authority for that proposition and nothing in the plain language of Section 13 (or any other section of the Regulation) suggests that a criminal conviction is a necessary or sufficient condition that gives rise to a breach of the Regulation."
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