Thursday, September 20, 2007

Int'l Boycott of Vancouver High School Diplomas Concealed By School Board

(photo: Ken Denike, Chair, Vancouver School Board)

While the Vancouver School Board is exporting schools and diplomas to the children of the elite in China's Communist Party, Vancouver residents say it is importing tactics of political repression used by China's Communist Party.

The result is an international boycott of Vancouver School Board secondary school diplomas. The boycott was launched in 2004 by individuals who have since formed the ad hoc group, Canadians Opposing Political Psychiatry. The DTES Enquirer has learned that Vancouver School Board trustees and administrators, including Principals and Vice Principals, were sent written notification of the boycott but concealed it from the public.

Organizations around the world "are being asked not to recognize these diplomas", according to a Feb. 13, 2004 notice entitled, "International Boycott of Diplomas Issued by the Vancouver School Board", received by the VSB.

The boycott stemmed from evidence that the VSB was using police intimidation and political psychiatry to deter legitimate citizen complaints. Pursuing a complaint against the Vancouver School Board can earn the complainant a visit from Vancouver's notorious "Car 87", a police car in which an armed constable and psychiatric nurse ride. They arrive at a complainant's home, according to official forms that they complete during the visit, to perform an assessment for "apprehension" to a mental hospital.

A psychiatric notation appears for life adjacent to that individual's name on the police computer system -- even if they are cleared. But here's the catch: even when you're cleared, you're never really cleared. The wording on the form reveals that an individual is simply not a candidate for apprehension "at this time".

In the fall of 2002, outgoing President of the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils mentioned intimidation of individuals pursuing complaints with school administrators in an interview with the Vancouver Sun. Reggi Balabanov stated that complainants were discovering police on their doorsteps. This has put a "chill" on the willingness of people to pursue complaints, Balabanov said. [Balabanov was not involved in organizing the boycott.]

The boycott was ultimately triggered by a case involving police intimidation and classic political psychiatry in October 2002.

The woman targeted for political psychiatry was the last (last known) of several individuals, both female and male, who had lodged complaints --with no knowledge of one another's complaints at the time -- with the School Board about a verbally and physically abusive teacher. The VSB instructed her to submit her complaint in writing to Violence Prevention Co-ordinator Lisa Pedrina, but when she did, she got no response. Months later, she wrote a letter to the VSB criticizing this lack of response. She quickly received a letter dated Sept. 12, 2000 from the VSB in-house lawyer, Richard Hall, threatening her with legal action for "liable and slander" -- this lawyer could not spell "libel" -- if she dared criticize Pedrini again. The woman asked trustees to ensure that the VSB stopped issuing threats to prevent the raising of legitimate concerns with staff.

Hall had told the woman in the threatening letter, that if she wanted her complaint processed, she would have to re-submit it. This is a typical "obstructionist tactic" she says. She asked trustee to investigate why this in-house lawyer could not simply pull her original submission out of a VSB filing cabinet? Hall later left his job at the VSB.

With Hall's departure, the VSB hired an external lawyer, Wendy Harris, to send the woman a letter stating that "no substantiation was found" to support her claims that previous individuals -- who had by now heard of her case and contacted her -- had lodged complaints about this teacher. "There are no records which could be located to indicate that either of these individuals had made complaints against [the teacher]...." Complainants were stunned by this response. The VSB ignored written notification that a previous complainant, a male, was willing to provide them with letters on VSB letterhead brushing off his complaint against this teacher, as well as a postcard he had received from the teacher apologizing for 'attacking' him. The VSB also ignored written notification that an earlier female complainant was willing to speak to them, a complainant who had been telephoned at home by a VSB supervisor when she suddenly stopped all school volunteer work after being physically assaulted by this teacher; the supervisor told her that the teacher would be sent on "sensitivity training." The VSB had been given contact information, in writing, for both these complainants. They had also been provided, in writing, the names of two VSB supervisors who had received complaints about the teacher.

The above example was one of several outlined in an Oct. 12, 2002 letter to the Vancouver Board to illustrate that they were paying hundreds of dollars an hour in taxpayers' dollars to evade a genuine investigation into this case. The woman stated in the letter that she intended to campaign in the election, just two months away, about VSB "duplicity" in the handling of bullying complaints, specifically their practice of assuring the public that such complaints were being taken seriously when in fact letters complainants were receiving told a different story. The ruling party, the Non-Partisan Association, was poised to lose the election; any campaigning by the woman could have been damaging to incumbents.

The VSB called police "Car 87".

In the morning of Nov. 5, 2002, the woman responded to pounding on her door by opening it and discovering an armed constable, Michelle Sevigny, standing with psychiatric nurse, Don Getz. Getz was flapping her Oct. 12, 2002 letter to the VSB in his hand. It is noteworthy that her Oct. 12, 2002 intent-to-campaign letter was the sole evidence submitted to police and the psychiatric nurse to justify the visit.

The woman felt sufficiently terrorized by the Car 87 visit that she dropped plans to campaign in the School Board election.

At the beginning of the visit, Getz told the woman, "You seem fine to me." As he was leaving at the end of the visit, she claims -- this is something she reported in writing to the Health Authority and the VSB at the time -- Getz told her that he shared her view that the upcoming tight School Board election had motivated the VSB to arrange this visit.

In his official psychiatric report, though, the sole reason Getz provided for going to the woman's home to assess her for "apprehension" was that she had made "freedom of information requests" to the VSB. Indeed, at the end of the Oct. 12/02 letter, the woman had requested that documents from the file be released to her under the Freedom of Information Act. The woman had made two routine freedom of information requests over the previous year. Getz revealed in his report that the only person the VSB made available to meet with him was Georgina Kosich, the Labour Relations and Freedom of Information Assistant at the VSB. (When he arrived, he had chatted with the VSB's new lawyer, Michael Hancock, who had directed him to Kosich.) The woman has in her possession letters from Kosich responding to her Freedom of Information requests and inviting her to feel free to contact her again.

The revelation in Getz' report that the VSB had diverted him to a freedom of information clerk reinforced the fact that they did not feel at any risk. Yet Car 87 is, according to Health Authority policy, to be reserved for cases where the targeted individual poses an "imminent" risk of killing themselves or others. That policy was confirmed in a taped telephone call with Jan Fisher, Head of Client Relations at the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. Fisher told the woman that she "might get an apology" as a mistake had obviously been made. It wasn't a mistake, says the woman. "It was a pre-meditated attempt to intimidate me and discredit me with the electorate."

The fact that the Car 87 visit was no mistake tends to be supported by comments made by Police-School Liaison, Sergeant Garry Lester, whom the woman telephoned for answers on the afternoon of Nov. 5th, just hours after the visit. He told her during a taped telephone conversation (advocates routinely advise DTES residents to tape conversations in cases of police intimidation and political psychiatry) that he had stressed to the VSB that there was "nothing untoward" about her Oct. 12/02 letter. But the VSB pressured him, he revealed, so he approved the visit. (Such soliciting by bureaucrats of a favor from the VPD in order to have a critic visited has turned up in documentation pertaining to four cases of political psychiatry and/or politically-motivated police intimidation brought to the attention of DTES Enquirer bloggers.) Lester confirmed, when asked by the woman during their telephone conversation, that the Oct. 12, 2002 letter was the sole evidence considered in the decision to send Car 87 to her home.

Despite the lack of evidence that the woman posed a risk, approval of the Car 87 visit allowed instant access by Car 87 staff to her medical records. "They had no evidence against me," she says, "so they went on a fishing expedition to see if they could find anything to use against me." [She can prove that content of her medical records was altered when transferred into the Car 87 report. She has copies of both the original record and the Car 87 report. But this will be covered in another post.] She has no history of mental illness.

During the year and a half between the Oct./02 Car 87 visit and the organizing of the boycott of diplomas issued by the Vancouver School Board, records confirm that efforts were made to have VSB trustees take responsibility for their alleged instigation of police intimidation and political psychiatry. In 2003, trustees held an in-camera review of the case of the woman targeted by Car 87. She was not invited. But a staff person implicated in wrongdoing in the case was invited to brief the Board. The woman learned from meeting notes obtained through Freedom of Information that evidence in the case had been consistently misrepresented at the meeting. "He said the teacher wasn't working for the Vancouver School Board at the time we lodged our complaints, like we were all too stupid to know what school she worked at." All they had to do was check the payroll records, she points out, to confirm that she had definitely been a VSB teacher when the complaints were lodged.

Jane Bouey, elected in Nov. 2002, was a Vancouver School Board member during the term in which the in-camera review was held and the VSB persistently evaded addressing allegations that they had restricted freedom of expression via Ca 87. No hint of Bouey's record was provided to the public as she appeared in the media to sell a draft of "Safe Schools" legislation. This "Safe Schools" draft was criticized for imposing excessive and heavy-handed limitations on informal, day-to-day speech of students. Critics who believe the VSB is comfortable with tactics typical of the Communist Party in China and the former Soviet Union are hardly dissuaded by the fact that Bouey is Assistant Manager of the Communist Party's People's Co-op Bookstore in Vancouver and uses the internet domain address of the Communist Party's People's Voice newspaper as her personal e-mail address. While on the School Board, her partner in her personal life was (and may continue to be) Kimball Cariou, editor of the People's Voice.

There is no doubt that the Vancouver School Board was aware of the boycott ultimately triggered by this case. A Freedom of Information request to the VSB by the woman visited by Car 87 resulted in the release of a copy of the notice entitled "International Boycott of Diplomas Issued by the Vancouver School Board" bearing the stamp, "RECEIVED Feb. 23, 2004 HUMAN RESOURCES". The VSB also released other documents pertaining to the boycott bearing "RECEIVED" stamps with dates in 2004. Further, a copy of the notice of the boycott was hand-delivered to the Vancouver School Board headquarters at Broadway and Granville in March 2004, at which time proof of receipt was provided by a receptionist who signed a photocopy of the notice and signed her name on it.

The VSB has never formally responded to the boycott. An internal memo, though, does reveal a somewhat flippant response from a VSB administrator, "Wendy", in a handwritten memo to another VSB administrator, Sue Arthur, dated Feb. 27, 2004:

"Sue – put your "Legal Counsel" hat on for this . . . . Take care & happy Friday!"

6 comments:

truepeers said...

It sounds like when the VSB heard this woman was going to campaign in the election, accusing them of bullying, etc., they thought only a crazy person would do something like that. Politics isn't for people like her; it belongs to professionals, like us.

The problem with the School Board is that they, in tandem with the BCTF, basically have a monopoly on education of the high school variety. I know well-educated people who would be very good teachers but they could never get a job in the system, because they haven't gone through the anti-intellectual insanity of professionals-caring-for-victims politics that is teachers' college. And even if they wanted to get into some Education program, they would have trouble jumping all the hurdles to get in, which basically have to do with ass kissing a range of professionals whose jobs exist, primarily, to keep the middle classes employed and out of trouble.

With such a monopoly, what can one expect but contempt for students who complain or cause trouble. We need to find ways to encourage a freer market in education, as in other areas. We now have home schooling and private schools for kids, but adult education in high school remains a monopoly of the bureaucrats.

reliable sources said...

truepeers,

I used to think that private schools were a luxury but now I see them more as a necessity. Any adult who is not passive with Vancouver School Board administrators and puts them on the defensive is at potential risk.

In 2002, the outgoing President of the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils told the Vancouver Sun that adults who lodged complaints in the school system were finding police showing up on their doorsteps; this had put a “chill” on their willingness to purse complaints. (I should have included that point in the article so I'll do that once I find the name of that President.)

Any adult who finds VPD police cruiser "Car 87" arriving at their home on the whim of a VSB administrator could find their future jeopardized. Car 87 is mandated to visit people who are at “imminent” risk of killing themselves or others. That’s what the literature says and that’s what Jan Fisher of the Health Authority confirmed Car 87 was for when the targeted woman in this case called her after being visited. Once a person is targeted by the VSB for a Car 87 visit, they have that record on the police computer – but there will be no mention on the police computer that the official reason for this person being targeted for assessment was that they had made benign “freedom of information requests”. That record will stay attached to the person’s name for LIFE. It's a record that Downtown Eastside residents -- who are prime targets of Car 87 abuse -- say tends to keep surfacing in your life.

Try running for political office now.

Did you see the front page of the Vancouver Sun yesterday? The school system is now pushing a course on “isms” –- ablism, heterosexism, sexism, etc. The school system presents itself to the public as ultra-sensitive. But they've never addressed the sexism involved in arranging for Car 87 to visit an assertive woman, the result being that she was terrorized into silencing herself during the election and her reputation was damaged for life. And the psych report produced after the nurse talked to the VSB Freedo of Information Assistant could be used in a course on advanced sexism: signs of the woman's intelligence or athleticism --the psych nurse intruded during her workout time she was sweating -- ended up framed as social deviance.

There’s an “ism” for VSB administrators who have for years been acting illegally by laying unfounded police/psych complaints. It’s called recidivism.

truepeers said...

RS, there's no justification for how this woman was treated, if you have the facts right. It is indeed the sign of a scary police state.

But can you imagine a world in which there was no justification for any "isms"? How would that work? How can any society work without some kind of "discrimination" among people? If we cannot make social differentiations of any kind, save those on which bureaucratic rule operates (e.g. distinctions among the official "education" credentials, the police records, we do or do not carry), we cannot think about the social good in the way that people who democratically rule themselves think; we can only be ruled by arbitrarily-determined back-room bureaucratic authority.

Might I suggest you see in the conduct of your local povertarians the logic of what can only flow from the kind of "education" discussed in the Sun article? If the gay educrats get their way, BC children will know that it is absolutely wrong to discriminate in any way (even between animals and humans, the one discrimination that is absolutely essential to self-knowledge, to understanding what humans are - to make this point is not to excuse cruelty to animals, btw), but the children of BC will have no basis for knowing why it is wrong, or where the imperative to human equality comes from in the first place.

Political correctness must sacrifice real education, real understanding, to its cause because to understand the anthropological basis behind our very real and fundamental intuition of human equality (the equalitarian imperative is based in the "nature" of our shared human language) is also to understand the limits of equality in a free and rational society. Equality is original to humanity but society cannot develop necessary (life- and society-saving) freedoms without limiting equality. So, people can only make a successful career of "equality" and "anti-discrimination" by hiding its limits, by hiding real understanding of the human condition.

Similarly, what the povertarians sacrifice in their politically-correct regulation of talk about poverty is a real understanding of poverty's basis or the means by which an individual might leave it, without becoming dependent on the motherly despotism of the povertarians and psych nurses of the welfare state. The povertarians sacrifice such a potential understanding to their own arbitrary authority as sanctimonious caretakers of the poor, with both povertarians and poor dependent on endless hand-outs from the taxpayers. But we know who is the much bigger pig and who the weak lamb at the trough, because we know how to discriminate.

I'm really angry to read that article in the Sun. I wish you hadn't pointed it out. Now I am going to have to do a blog on it at Covenant Zone. Time, time, time....

ex VSB substitute teacher said...

I worked as a teacher for VSB for 9 years (1991-2000). I never got a contract, was a sub. the whole time. I know firsthand the kind of nasty tactics they will use. But in this case something doesn't make sense. The VSB administration is adversarial to the Union (BCTF) - so why would the VSB go to any length to cover up for or protect a teacher? My experience suggests they would do the opposite and readily castigate any teacher to get at the Union and make themselves look good in the process. So in this case I suggest looking to see how this teacher who is alleged to be aggressive, is connected with Administration. And/or how the Union might be pressuring the Administration to protect that teacher. The VSB would only not hassle a teacher if it is more trouble to do it, or perhaps some deal was made with Union.

One other point re. the original posters further comments; the VSB is dominated by women and they support their own kind -- i beleive it is erroneous to suggest they are pressuring someone (re. car 87) because she is a woman. They might be pressuring her, but not for that reason.

And yes their whole presentation of themselves as so PC-nice is a joke. They are a suppressive bunch of self-protecting politicians - and the Union is no better in my view. Behind all that presentation of goodness by both entities are some really ice-cold hearts.

In my case, i was accused by a student of reading a Playboy magazine in class. Not true, but the VSB jumped on it as a chance to punish me (note that as sub. with no Continuing Contract, I was an easy target.) Speaking of psychiatrists, they even hired some hack in White Rock to subject about 11 Grade 3-4 students to interviews (an experience I think it better not to have when you are 8 or 9 years old) and this hack psychiatrist (a male) gave them what they wanted - an unreality was "generally credible" and as far as VSB is concerned, became what they call 'truth'. That was beginning of end for me - google my last name Bouryiotis to see the College of Teachers discipline report.

Anonymous said...

Car 87 also arrived at my door in 2007 to "Assess me for apprehension under Section 28" within two weeks of having filed a complaint against officers of the VPD, with the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner in December, 2006-7. I too applied for freedom of Information to Coastal Mental Health, which I also had no prior involvment with, and read that I was "expecting to be sexually assaulted by a man who would appear at my door". My police complaint was dismissed on the same Date as the Assessment by Don Getz of Car 87. My complaint to Coastal health was re-directed to Jan Fisher of Risk Management as well. I was told that "at least you're in our computer now". My complaint to the Minister of Health regarding the abuse of Car 87 with the purpose of destroying the credibility of a police complaint,was intercepted by Coastal Health and diverted to the Ministry of Ann Marr, director for "Mental Health and Addictions" who wrote me to seek help on their "HereToHelp" website. How many dissatisfied complainants of the VPD who appeal to the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner, have had their complaints dismissed after a visit from Car 87 and Don Getz with no prior history of mental illness? I am concerned at the excessive budget alloted by the VPD for the investigation of complaints to their department. "Full investigations" are also part of the Coastal Mental Health EMHS Car 87 protocol. Full investigations are an expensive application of the Coastal Mental Healthcare budget and should be restricted to use for EMHS patients only. I am concerned about the misuse of "Full investigations" to destroy credibility of a complainant with her colleagues, and neighbours, by Car 87, if the complaint is not dropped at the "assessment for Apprehension" level. Should Coastal Mental Health and Car 87 have a civilian watchdog to ensure that they are using funding for their suiside prevention services ethically? I read recently how Car 87 was complaining that they are innundated by suicides. Car 87 had enough time and manpower to include a Coastal EMHS report to my VPD complaint in 2007 without any explanation as to why they alleged that I was "expecting to be sexually assaulted by a man who would show up at my door", or why the date of the dismissal of my police complaint was issued the same day as my "assessment" by Don Getz and Car 87.

Anonymous said...

Only 70% of students remain in the public school system, the others have moved into the private system, a few to home schooling. Ken Denike promises to look at that problem if he is re-elected in Nov. 2011. What has taken him so long? He's had five terms. He has supported the Car 87 racket to scare parents into submission. He IS the problem.