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Steve Weatherbe

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Pro-life teacher fired for opposing abortion – it only took one student complaint

Steve Weatherbe

BRITISH COLUMBIA, December 8, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A teacher was fired by an upscale private high school a week ago after a female student complained that he had expressed his opposition to abortion in a law class.

The story of the anonymous teacher’s last days at a “posh” private school was recounted by National Post columnist Christie Blatchford on Wednesday.

The report prompted John Hof of United for Life BC to comment, “It’s an atrocity. It’s way above and beyond common sense. They’ve taken away this guy’s freedoms. It’s a case of the PC agenda taken to its extreme.”

Added John Carpay of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms: “While a private school should be the master of its own policies, I wonder what other parents at that school are thinking about this extreme over-reaction. Do they really want to raise their own children as fragile snowflakes who declare ‘I’m triggered’ and walk out the moment they hear something upsetting?”

The teacher had brought up his own view of abortion to make the point, he told Grade 12 students, that “There’s often a difference between private morality and the law. I find abortion to be wrong, but the law is often different from our personal opinions.”

Shortly afterward, the class took a break. Several students did not reappear, one of them being a young woman who was in the process of complaining to an administrator that the teacher had “triggered” her and made her feel “unsafe” with his opinion.

“What happened to the teacher over the next couple of days sounds like something out of the Cultural Revolution in Mao’s China,” Blatchford opined. He was first confronted in the hallway by the girl, who was flanked by a supportive teacher. “When I didn’t show contrition [because he deemed the crowded hallway the wrong place to deal with the issue], I was summoned upstairs and grilled by two administrators who told me my job was on the line.”

The administrators wouldn’t define his crime, but they made it clear if his apology was not satisfactory he would be fired. Though he was a good teacher, student “safety” came first, he was told.

He was subjected to a criticism session in front of his law class as administrators and the offended student listed his offenses and instructed him on how he must change. His attempted apology in front of the whole class was far from satisfactory: When he told her he thought she was a good student and he liked her, she ran from the class in tears and his bosses “castigated” him, in Blatchford’s words, for being “too personal.”

On November 30, he was stopped on his way to class, taken to the principal and summarily fired. “Such is the cost,” he told Blatchford,” of a small misstep in a crushingly politically correct world.”

But the teacher won’t identify the school other than to characterize it as effusively onside regarding the LGBT agenda, subjecting teachers to “gender training” by the QMUNITY advocacy group, which the teacher remembers instructing them that “no one is 100 percent male or female (though the teacher was evidently male enough to disqualify his opinion on abortion.)”

Carpay told LifeSiteNews that it was entirely possible and within its rights for the school to have a contract with teachers explicitly prohibiting them from expressing their personal opinions on religious or moral issues or even stating their political preferences.

The question in employment law, he said, then becomes whether the punishment for a breach was proportionate. “It’s customary to issue warnings first,” he said, unless the action was flagrant.

Hof said what happened to the high school teacher is already happening on college campuses in the United States and Canada, with instructors and visiting speakers being silenced lest they “trigger” students into emotional distress. “In their graduating year of high school, all students should be open to these issues,”Hof said.

Carpay agrees. “These students are one or two years away from being old enough to vote in elections. They should be learning how to think and talk about serious issues.” He expressed the hope that enough parents at the school would be unhappy with the teacher’s treatment to “hold the school accountable for bad policies, to speak out and contact the principal and board of directors.” As a final resort, he suggested, they can withdraw their children.

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