Guilty Until Proven Innocent: The Real Assumption of Some Bureaucratic Tribunals, Part Four

It is supposed to be a fundamental principle of criminal law that a person is presumed innocent until proven otherwise by the State (government). This is the ideology or the rhetoric (which much of the left have swallowed). The reality is otherwise. In reality, the administrative apparatus of various organizations of the government and semi-governmental organizations assume that you are guilty first and that you have to prove your innocence; otherwise, you suffer negative consequences.

An example is the requirements that the Ontario College of Teachers imposed on me in order for me to qualify as a teacher in the province of Ontario after I moved from the province of Manitoba. To qualify as a teacher in Ontario, you must gain the approval of the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT). The OCT website explains what this organization does:


The Ontario College of Teachers licenses, governs and regulates the Ontario teaching profession in the public interest.

Teachers who work in publicly funded schools in Ontario must be certified to teach in the province and be members of the College.

The College:

  • sets ethical standards and standards of practice
  • issues teaching certificates and may suspend or revoke them
  • accredits teacher education programs and courses
  • investigates and hears complaints about members

The College is accountable to the public for how it carries out its responsibilities.

You can find the qualifications, credentials and current status of every College member at Find a Teacher.

The College is governed by a 37-member Council.

  • 23 members of the College are elected by their peers
  • 14 members are appointed by the provincial government.

To qualify as a teacher in Ontario, among other things, you have to answer a questionnaire. On the questionnaire, there are questions concerning arrest–and since I was arrested by the RCMP (the Royal Canadian Mounted Police)  (but never convicted), I was obliged to prove my innocence in various ways.

I sent, along with my explanation, a table that I had constructed concerning my experiences (and the experiences of my daughter, Francesca) with the child welfare organization Winnipeg Child and Family Services (CFS), located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The table that I constructed about events is a revised version (always subject to change as I gather further evidence). I will post the table gradually, in the section Publications and Writings on this blog.

Below is the answer to the final question, I believe, about additional considerations:

III. Another aspect of the issue is the clash between the principal’s views and mine.

When Randy Chartrand was principal (from 2009 to 2011), I used to place the occasional article (including my own) or other information that might be relevant to teachers on the bulletin board. Randy had no problems with these activities.

In September 2011, when Neil MacNeil became the new principal. I became the chair of the Equity and Social Justice Committee of the local teachers’ association. I sent articles and commentaries to the Manitoba Teachers’ Society Ning on Equity and Social Justice and decided to place printed copies of such material (at my own expense) in binders in the teachers’ lounge. I provide a couple of examples of such material. (the first one is on the definition of equity and social justice and another is Sarason’s article on flawed education and the summary of the article that I had provided).

One day in the fall of 2011, the Mr. MacNeil sent all teachers an article via email on brains and adolescent behaviour; he also put the same article in printed format in the teachers’ mail box (I do not have a copy). The article claimed that, due to adolescent brain structure and growth, adolescents behaved in reckless ways. Since my own understanding of the human life process is opposed to such reductionism of human nature to brains—such reduction is typical of many articles on brain research (see the accompanying article, “The Grammar of the Human Life Process: John Dewey’s new theory of language”), I researched the issue and placed an article opposing such a view (see the accompanying article, Mike Males, “Is Jumping Off the Root Always a Bad Idea?: A Rejoinder on Risk Taking and the Adolescent Brain”) and placed the article in the binder. This issue is related to clinical supervision.

In relation to the issue of clinical supervision for 2011-2012, during the consultation concerning my professional development plan, I had indicated that I would like to continue to contribute to the school through the submission of summaries of articles that I had read alongside the particular articles in question. During the consultation, the principal specifically claimed that the staff had expressed its disdain for my efforts. Since no one had approached me negatively concerning my efforts, I inferred that it was the principal who considered my efforts with disdain. I was placed once again on the clinical supervision model (on October 26). I continued to print (at my own expense) articles and summaries of the articles that I had sent to the MTS Ning and place them into a binder in the staff lounge until I went on sick leave in February 2012.

This is part of my explanation for answering “yes” in several of the questions.

Dr. Fred Harris

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