Tagged: British Columbia Teachers’ Federation

The Fainting Couch 2: Educational Talking Points

“I hope that Mr. DeGear withdraws that very threatening and intimidating and bullying words that he has uttered,” said Abbott.

That’s B.C. Education Minister George Abbott reacting to words allegedly said by Nanaimo District Teachers Association Derek DeGear.

DeGear reportedly told a Nanaimo newspaper that the B.C. Teachers’ Federation members who continue to volunteer for school activities could face punishments ranging from having to apologize to colleagues to fines to having their BCTF membership suspended.

Shocking. Imagine a private organization sanctioning its members for disobeying its rules. It’s absolutely unheard of!

But what’s interesting are the words bullying, intimidation, and threatening. Words used by a Geoff Sharpe, last year’s B.C. Young Liberal President and current defiant and in your face B.C. Liberal supporter on Twitter.

How much do you want to bet B.C. Liberal MLAs and activists were given talking points/lexicon with the words bully, intimidate and threaten on it and instructions for use when referring to BCTF members?

Classic Rovism: Attempt to inoculate yourself by accusing your opponents of your crimes and weaknesses.

Although Karl Rove usually used more than 3 words.

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The Fainting Couch. Or, the B.C. Liberal Party’s Social Media Strategy

The tweet:

Well, that’s shocking. Even if you are sympathetic to the teachers, there’s no excuse for the BCTF advocating violent intimidation on picket lines and….

…er…

…maybe we should read Mr. Sharpe’s cited article first. But even before that, let’s get to know our cast of characters.

Carl Ratsoy: A teacher at Reynold’s Secondary in Esquimalt Saanich (corrected).
Matt Grinder: A teacher at Reynold’s Secondary in Esquimalt Saanich (corrected).

Back to it…

Physics teacher Carl Ratsoy asked for protection from the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association and his colleagues at Saanich’s Reynolds secondary after a fiery email, penned by math teacher Matt Grinder, circulated among teachers there last week warning them not to cross any potential picket line.

Oh my. Still, that’s the actions of an individual teacher. Is it fair to characterize them as the position of the BCTF? Um. No. Does the BCTF have a responsibility to disavow? Maybe we should take a closer look at the Mr. Grinder’s fiery, violently threatening email.

Grinder says any teacher who crosses the picket line would have to be a “real sociopath.”

Oh. Well, that’s not very nice. Personally I don’t think crossing a picket line makes you a sociopath. It makes you a jerk, but not a sociopath. It’s an opinion, nothing more. Surely there’s more to it, though?

“[Crossing the picket line] is wishing horrific fines on your fellow teachers,” Grinder wrote in the email. “I would keep my children away from you, cause you’re evil. And I’ll shout at you.

Heh. Depending on the context and what precisely is said, shouting at someone can be inappropriate and deemed harassment. But not always…or even often. And one would think seeing someone cross a picket line is a socially – and legally – acceptable time to shout at someone. It is, in fact.

But I think it must be a new record for X-Treme spin[tm] to construe Mr. Grinder keeping his children away from Mr. Ratsoy as a violent threat against…Mr. Ratsoy.

Let’s keep in mind this hasn’t actually happened yet. Teachers have not picketed. They may or may not. Mr. Ratsoy has not attempted to cross a picket line. He may or may not. Mr. Grinder has not kept his children away, to my knowledge, from Mr. Ratsoy or shouted at him. He may or may not.

Oh, there’s a pertinent detail I’ve left out:

Carl Ratsoy: A teacher at Reynold’s Secondary in Saanich and B.C. Liberal Party candidate in Esquimalt-Royal Roads in 2009.

Oh…that might have been nice for the Sun to have mentioned [UPDATEThe story has been changed since this morning to reflect this].

Now you may be saying that nowhere in the newspaper article is there talk of “violent threats” and you’d be correct. Mr. Ratsoy himself states he thinks the email falls short of actual harassment. However Mr. Sharpe, the original Tweeter, was adamant.

Now I don’t usually concern myself with someone’s background. It’s the argument that’s important to me and bringing up someone’s credentials all too often veers into dismissing said argument via attacking the messenger. But Mr. Sharpe was quite concerned about my background – which he stated was a BCTF lackey [I have no association with the BCTF. I have friends who are teachers and a friend who is a principal. I’m also a parent].

But, all things being equal…let’s make the final update to our cast of characters:

Geoff Sharpe: On Twitter he’s a Digital strategist. On LinkedIn, however, he’s President of the BC Young Liberals of the BC Liberal Party

Perhaps we should call this the Feinting Couch.