VANCOUVER, Canada – A teacher at a Vancouver private school claims he was fired after his remarks about abortion in a 12th grade law class “triggered” a student who complained to administrators.
The unnamed 44-year-old teacher at Fraser Academy told the National Post he was attempting to explain how the law conflicts with some people’s sense of morality Nov. 30 and said he believes abortion is wrong, “but the law is often different from our personal opinions.”
During a break in class several students did not return and one girl in the class told school officials she was “triggered” by the remark and felt “unsafe” in the teacher’s class.
The Post reports:
With another teacher at her side for support, the student then confronted the offending teacher and demanded an apology.
Over the ensuing few days, the teacher was removed from the class, and invited back in only to be confronted again by the student. This time he apologized, but managed to offend her anew, and the next day was told he “couldn’t continue in the classroom.”
A blogger for the site The Rebel spoke with several folks who camped out in front of the school to protest the teacher’s termination.
“I’m a liberal Democrat for the United States who lives here in Canada. I’m a big free speech supporter. I’m outraged that any teacher would be fired for simply voicing an opinion. It just shocks me that would happen,” a long-haired bearded man with a fancy scarf told the site in a video posted to YouTube.
“What bothers me the most about this is this part of a broader picture, you see happening in universities all over where conservative speakers are banned, where safe spaces are created, where there’s trigger warnings,” the man continued.
“I’m a progressive and I am increasingly disturbed that conservatives are shut out of the dialogue on campuses and high schools and have no voice.”
An elderly lady wearing a double-sided protest sign elaborated on the group’s outrage.
“A grade 12 student is so unprepared for diversity of opinion on the subject of abortion that she was able to run to the administration and cause a teacher to lose his job. This is rather drastic, I would say, so that is really what brought us out, because it’s so unfair,” she said.
Fraser Academy officials issued a gag order on all employees from talking about the teacher’s firing, and school head Maureen Steltman refused to discuss the situation with the Post.
Steltman wrote in an emailed statement that the school “does not comment on personnel issues, even when we take issue with public inaccuracies,” and claimed “no teacher is ever removed from the classroom based on the words or actions of a single student.”
Numerous other teachers who have worked at and later left Fraser Academy, however, told a different story.
“You can get fired for just about anything,” an unidentified former employee who spent 15 years at Fraser before he was fired for skipping a school Christmas party told the Post.
Another former teacher, Renee Michaud, said she was fired a day before her three-month probationary period was over for an “inappropriate student-teacher relationship” because she refused orders from administrators to cut off contact with a student who came to her with struggles about her sexual orientation.
“I was one of three teachers fired that year,” Michaud said.