Monday, October 1, 2012

How Crazy Am I?

Today the Free Press published a news story about my lawsuit against the University of Winnipeg. You can read it here online. The story is all right, but the talkbacks are kind of interesting. Apparently it's pretty clear to a lot of people that there's something wrong with me in the head. And therefore it's a good thing that the U of W kicked me out of the teaching program, because we can't have crazy people teaching our children.

Maybe it's true. Of course, the University was pretty careful not to say anything like this out loud during the proceedings against me, because that might be "discrimination". But I when I see the reaction of "normal" people to my story, I have to wonder if the University wasn't motivated by the similar feelings of fear and revulsion towards people who are different from the "normal" ones. Yes, I have to admit I'm different...the whole world can't be wrong. But just what is it about me that makes me unfit to be put in charge of children?

You see, the University had a problem. From their point of view, they obviously had to get rid of me, because I was potentially dangerous, on account of my psychological disability. But they couldn't just say so...they had to come up with actual reasons.

When I finally got to see the "reasons" they had for kicking me out, I was amazed at how flimsy they were. (And by the way, it wasn't until months after I was kicked out that I managed to pry the reasons out of them, with a little help from the Freedom of Information Act.) I've already posted the very limited amount of information they were willing to disclose while the proceedings against me were still under way. You can review it here. Admittedly it makes me look pretty bad, especially the part about how I made a girl cry. But these were not the actual written complaints against me...they were just a summary. I wanted to know which girl I made cry, and just how I did it? But they wouldn't tell me. Imagine how surprised I was months later when I finally got to see the complaints, and all that was written up was that I "reduced another student to tears". I just thought they had to have more than that to hang me with.

But when I re-read the complaints in the light of what I learned today, about how the rest of the world sees me...I can see the true undercurrent which flows through all of them: it is the unspoken implication that this man is crazy! That was the true gist of the complaints, and that was why they kicked me out. I can see it everywhere, but nowhere is it more clear to me than in the written complaint lodged by Professor Lauralyn Cantor.

Professor Cantor is, I believe, a professional psychologist; if she isn't, I think it is fair to say that she is recognized as someone with expertise in psychology. She taught us a class on how to teach people with disabilities, and of course mental and psychological disabilities were a main focus of her course. I knew early on that three professors had written complaints against me, and I was pretty sure I knew who they were. When the written complaints were finally disclosed months later, I was not surprised to see complaints by Professors Bell and Metz; but I was quite flabbergasted to see that the third complaint was not from my old nemesis Professor Bush, but rather from Mrs. Nicey-nice Caring and Sharing Professor Cantor, loved by one and all for her niceness. She wrote a devastating critique of my character, based largely on an essay I had submitted in the third week of classes.

The essay in question was assigned as a Personal Self-Reflection. She wanted us to look within ourselves and write about some of the things that made us who we were. Of course, whatever we wrote would be strictly confidential: we could count on that. I certainly took her at her word.

Imagine how surprised I was to find my personal and confidential essay dissected for the Dean of Education; and I can tell you, I came off looking pretty disturbed. When we return, I'll tell you what I wrote, and how Professor Cantor played it back to the people who would shortly thereafter kick me out of school.

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