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“You Just Don’t Fit In!”


By:  Evelina Silveira, President Diversity at Work in London Inc.  Publisher, Inclusion Quarterly

The interview has ended and you turn to the other members of your selection team and say: “He wouldn’t fit in” and they agree, passing over this candidate in favour of a less qualified one. You site all kinds of reasons like: “he is too old”, “we want people who will be fun to work with and he seems too professional”, he seems to know more than we do”, and his cultural dress wouldn’t fit the corporate image we’ re trying to project. All of these are poor excuses for turning down a candidate especially if they are qualified for the job. Telling someone “they don’t fit in is a proclamation of personal bias. Period. The ideal staff person cultivated in your head does not match the person sitting in front of you. Perhaps you were looking for a man? Someone who is of the same race as you? Or a person who doesn’t have a disability?  Were you specifically seeking a straight candidate?  You wanted someone under the age of 40?  A person who thinks like you? Someone who is less intelligent and won’t challenge you in any way?  Or who seems to lack confidence?

I remember getting hired for a job when my manager was on holidays. Figuring out that she would not want to consider me for the job because of my experience, I later learned the selection team strategically held the interviews while she was away. I was 35 and she was used to working with young women who were fresh out of school. Having been through the trenches of the not-for-profit world, I was full of enthusiasm and ready for the challenge of re-energizing a fledgling program. Introduced to me after coming back from her vacation, she declared: “I wanted someone who was younger and who I could mould”! Can you imagine how I felt? Clearly, I did not “fit” her ideal image of the staff she wanted to have, even though there was absolutely nothing wrong with my work.

Recently, my friend recounted a similar situation about an interviewer. Noting that she liked having young energetic staff, she  conveyed she was impressed by his many years of experience, but  added: I just need to know that you will fit in, because everyone fits in here and I am not so sure about you”. He thought it was an odd comment to make, but decided that he would just forget about it. After getting hired, in his first week, his boss called him into her office and had some peculiar personal comments about him that had nothing to do with his work. He’s a rather introverted man who is reserved until he gets to know people.  She said: I am really not sure you are fitting in”. You keep your door closed and you are not really interacting much with the staff”. You seem really unsociable!” B. had his door closed to block out the noise to accommodate his disability, ADHD.  This was mentioned  during his interview. While he was friendly to all staff,  he wasn’t hanging around in the hallways or in their offices gossiping as so many others were. He had a work ethic! Apparently, that was why he “wasn’t fitting in”?
If you are making hiring and retaining decisions not based on a person’s ability to do the job, but on something about them you don’t really like, (which is really what “not fitting in” is all about) this is a bad move that could end up costing you a bundle in legal fees.

As an employer you could easily be playing with fire when it comes to human rights, legislation protecting people with disabilities in the workplace and laws against bullying and harassment.

Hiring someone because they are the best person to do the job is always the right decision and having standardized documentation to support all phases of the hiring process is the way to go.

Next time, you think “that person doesn’t fit in”, challenge yourself to look at what they do bring to the workplace instead of imposing unnecessary superficial expectations on them. Take the time to understand what is happening for them. After all, a good leader makes everyone feel included no matter how different they are. It is up to you to help them “fit in” and be accepted and respected.

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Individual Versus Group Rights: The Diversity Challenge


Evelina Silveira, President, Diversity at Work in London

 

Depending on where you work, speaking foreign languages on the job can open up a big can of worms.    While it is an individual’s human right to do so, it can create huge issues of mistrust and cliques which can ultimately lead to racism.  No where is this more pronounced than in the manufacturing sector which is often fuelled by immigrant labour.

 After completing a recent sensitivity training session with a worker who was accused of making insensitive remarks to a group of foreign language speakers in the lunch room, I realized how complex and divisive this topic can be.   The situation becomes intensified when the workers are fluent in English but choose to speak another language over breaks and in their lunch room.   

 When my parents came to Canada in the 1960’s they did not know English and there weren’t any supports for people like there are today.  But English language fluency is much higher these days than in the past for several reasons.  With stricter health and safety standards workers must be more fluent to understand the workplace hazards.   The Canadian government has a fluency standard for immigration and there are more free programs for New Canadians to access to learn English than ever before.

 Breaks are a time to relax.  When you are not completely fluent in English, speaking it during the day becomes very tiring.  It makes sense that you don’t want to continue to make the effort because you need to refuel for the rest of your shift.  But, what if you are fluent in English and choose to speak another language during your lunch hour or breaks?  Indeed you have the right to do so, but this does not always mean it is the best choice and without consequence?  

 In Canada we also have the right to ask for religious and cultural accommodations in the workplace.  But is it always the right thing to do?  You can argue that it is “your right” but sometimes our individual rights clash with what is good for the group.  What if your team has an important deadline to meet and you must leave early from work to accommodate a religious obligation and they really need your help?  Are you going to leave and hold them completely responsible for finishing the task?  This may be your right to do so, but how are your co-workers going to feel about you tomorrow?  It all depends.  For example, did you do whatever you possibly could in advance to help them with the project? Might you be available in case of an emergency? 

 A key component missing from the dialogue on exercising individual rights in the workplace is the impact that it can have on your co-workers.  Creating exclusive lunch rooms segregated by language and shrugging off workplace responsibilities because of cultural/religious obligations do not make a recipe for harmonious  interpersonal relationships.   

 When we exercise our individual rights in the workplace we must also consider the impact it may have on our fellow co-workers and do what we can to alleviate the burden for them.  

Quick and Easy Ideas for LGBT Workplace Inclusion


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Evelina Silveira, President, Diversity at Work in London Inc.  Author, Diversity and Inclusion on a Budget:  How to have a more engaged and innovative workforce with little or no dollars.

Pride Month is coming up and now is the time to take a look at what your organization is doing to create workplace inclusion for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgendered employees.  Even though I am a big supporter of LGBT inclusion in the workplace and in the community at large, sometimes I find myself stumped at what can we do in our organizations to advance the cause?  I figured that there were other people out there who likely feel how I do, but don’t know where to begin.  I did some research and I came up with a few ideas below that are really quite easy to do.  You don’t have to have a big budget, but you will see that these ideas will no doubt contribute to a more caring, engaged and productive workplace.

  • Don’t assume everyone is straight.
  • Remember to communicate a zero tolerance policy that inappropriate comments or jokes will not be allowed.
  • Keep in mind that LGBT employees often have children, spouses and partners. Show interest in their lives as well.
  • “Coming–out” is usually a risky thing to do in the workplace. When someone shares this with you, thank them for their trust in you and honour their need for privacy.
  • Convey verbally and in writing that professional development and promotional opportunities are solely based on merit.
  • When you are embarking on diversity and workplace inclusion training remember to include LGBT content.
  • Include any policies or benefits to LGBT employees on your website as you would for other groups. In the case of a global operation, it is important to let employees know how LGBT company practices and societal approaches abroad may be different if a transfer or travel is involved.
  • Don’t overlook LGBT causes when you are looking for outreach opportunities in your community. Considering the prevalence of bullying and higher levels of suicide among LGBT youth, these groups could use more resources.
  • Send out a Happy Pride Month message in your newsletter, intranet or other form of communication, just as you would with any other special month.
  • Ask employees if they have any ideas to improve LGBT inclusion in the workplace or marketing/customer service efforts to this population. These questions should be posed to your employees in general and not singling out LGBT in your organization.

 

If you would like more easy and low-cost ways to make your workplace more inclusive, consider purchasing our eBook, Diversity and Inclusion on a Budget  at http://www.yourdiversityatwork.com/ebook/ .

 

 

The Complicated Dynamic of Racism in Long Term Care


Holding Hands with Elderly Patient

 

By:  Evelina Silveira, President,   Diversity at Work in London Inc. and author of  Diversity and Inclusion on A Budget:  How to have a more engaged and innovative workforce for little or no dollars.

Go to almost any long term care facility in the London, Ontario area and the racial divide will be very visible when it comes to who is a  front-line worker versus a resident.  Race and ethnicity become very pronounced.  British name plaques sprinkled with a few Southern European ones grace the corridors of the residence.  These facilities are home to a largely female population, and the leadership is usually comprised of women of British origin.

When we look more closely however, we will see that visible minorities form a good part of the staff involved in direct service delivery.  In London, this means primarily Filipino, Sudanese, Ethiopian, Eritrean, Latin American and Eastern European women.  For the most part, the residents have had very little contact with these groups and are unfamiliar with them, and consequently   deep-rooted racism, prejudice and stereotypes are not uncommon.

We have to remember that the cultural and racial demographics did not change much until the mid 1980’s in London, Ontario.  These residents probably did not grow up, live alongside and work with people who looked different, sounded different and did things differently.   It should be expected that they may have feelings of discomfort when they are in such a vulnerable position when they have to rely on these workers for so much of their basic care and sense of safety.

However, this lack of comfort can lead to racism causing devastating consequences for these workers.  False accusations, physical assaults against the workers and racial slurs can all be hurled at the people who are entrusted to look after them.  Feeling powerless, and afraid to report any problems for fear of losing their job, many minority workers have to face the additional brunt of racism while they go about their jobs caring for our family members in low paying positions with little opportunity for advancement.

Administrators will note that while many residents may keep their racial intolerance to themselves, if they are struck with dementia their filter is often lost.  It means that racial minorities who work in dementia services will deal with the effects of racism to an even larger degree.  It is a very slippery slope as we cannot punish people with dementia for what they say, so what do we do?

There is very little in the research about what might be the best solutions to the problem of racism against direct care workers in senior residences.  It can be challenging because long term care is a resident’s home. To complicate matters, residents who are hard of hearing report real challenges understanding those who have heavy accents.  But can long term care facilities be doing more to embrace the diversity of their staff?  The answer is yes.  Here are a few suggestions, but we need more.

 1.   Advertise languages spoken at your long-term care facility. –  Use your website, boast about it in your pamphlets and create a welcome sign for your front lobby that is multi-lingual and showcases the languages spoken.

 2.  Have multicultural displays.  Work with families, residents and employees to showcase various cultures in your lobby.  You might want to designate a multicultural week where you could have display tables that residents and family members could preside.  This is a great way to let everyone know that your home respects and celebrates culture.  Don’t forget to include posters that show respect for diversity and inclusion.  Include a few new food choices.

 3.  Solicit ideas for new recreational activities.  Do you have a resident who enjoys working on a craft project that is unique to     their  country of origin?  Would they be interested in teaching others how to do it?  Your multicultural staff could provide insight into some foods, outings, music and crafts.  The possibilities are endless; all the while learning about one another can be fun.

4.  Intake Assessments.   It is important to let residents and family members know about respect policies that you may have regarding your employees.  Depending on the resident’s health condition they may or may not be able to adhere to them. Ensure that you include some culturally based questions about:  values, end-of life decisions, language spoken.

 5.  Onboarding for New Employees – Ensure that all employees are told about the supports that are available to them when it comes to any bullying, harassment and racism.  Racism can take a toll on a worker’s mental health and performance, and they need to know what it looks like and where they can report it without jeopardizing their job security.   The leadership needs to take reports of racism seriously and be prepared to create a work plan that can protect them that is respectful to the worker and the resident’s rights.

6.  Take a Team Approach.  While little can be done to change the behaviour of elderly residents, a lot can be done to create a supportive team environment for the person who is experiencing the racism, reducing some of the negative effects.  Workers may be assigned to work in pairs to deal with difficult residents or be removed from dealing with the problematic client altogether.  Communication is the key.  Remember to involve the worker in the plan.   Leaders should also take a proactive approach to speak with the resident if they are coherent and finding out what their concerns are.  The resident may have some legitimate concerns that may be wrongfully dismissed as racism.  However, if racism is the issue this is an opportunity for the leaders to demonstrate to the resident that the worker is qualified to do the job just as the rest and should be treated with the same respect.  This is an important action the leader must take to demonstrate to the worker that their concerns are treated seriously and that while he/she may not have the confidence of the resident their boss believes in them.

If your organization has faced similar situations, please leave us your comments about what worked.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mental Illness: Reaching Out Can Make a Difference


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Evelina Silveira, President, Diversity At Work in London Inc, Author of Diversity and Inclusion:  On A Budget

Growing up with a parent who suffered from a severe mental illness wasn’t easy.  My mother wasn’t diagnosed until she was in her fifties.  Sadly, the best parts of her life were lost to an illness that robbed her of what could have been her most joyous moments like the birth of her children and grandchildren.  Despite her daily battles with depression, anxiety, hallucinations, language barriers and poverty — somehow we all survived.  Recognizing that she could no longer work with groups of people, my mother built a small solo cleaning business where she could carve out a meager income to support her family.  Who would ever think that with so much going against her that she could maintained a business?  But proudly, I can attest that she did!

 Our national awareness campaign about mental illness reminds us that we can make a difference in someone’s mental health and I agree.  Along the way, there could have been many opportunities for people to have reached out to someone like my mom who was alone and struggling with two children – but they did not. Maybe they didn’t want to pry or perhaps they were scared.  Or worse yet, “too busy” to care.

 Each day there are people around us who suffer silently or openly.  Some have paid professionals helping them out and others have no one.  There will be those whose only interventions come from a professional, never hearing the kind gentle words of a friend, family member or even a stranger.

Have you ever been through a rough emotional time when the support of friends or family really made a difference in how you came through?  Sometimes people don’t get better because they have no one that shows them that they care.

 Helping people who are mentally ill is not just the responsibility of professionals but communities and individuals as well.  Mental illness is all around us, but sometimes we want to turn a blind eye.  It can look like:

  •  The woman who started drinking after her husband left her.
  •  The student who is getting panic attacks before his exams.
  •  The new mom who can’t stop crying and doesn’t know why.
  •  The dad who lost his job and can’t get out of bed because he feels so devastated.

 It is also:

  •  The veteran who has the pent-up anger from the battleground.
  • The child who slashes himself to release the pain.
  • The teacher who hears voices telling her that she is an evil person.

 If you know someone who is in these circumstances and you haven’t reached out, now may be the time to do so.  We cannot leave everything to professionals, but individuals living in caring communities can make a difference in someone’s recovery.

 Don’t you think so?

 Let’s start the conversation.

 I would like to hear your comments.

 If you have a mental illness and are reading this blog, what suggestions would you have for others to reach out to you?  Please leave your comments.

 If you reached out to someone today, who is affected by mental illness. Tell us about it and how you felt.

 

The Far Left: A Threat to Workplace Inclusion


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Evelina Silveira, President, Diversity at Work, Publisher of the Inclusion Quarterly and Author Diversity and Inclusion On  A Budget

Is your workplace a de-colonized space?  Are you a victim of colourism?  Are you planning a civility workshop to tame your savage-like employees?  Are you knocking your head against a brick wall wondering:  How can I stop oppressing my clients?  Are you counting the number of micro-inequities that you will encounter in a day?  If you feel lost after reading this, you are not the only one.

The Far Left diversity movement is responsible for more harm than good when it comes to increasing understanding of one another and building bridges.  Frankly, it is turning people off from seeking out the help of good and balanced diversity trainers because as the saying goes: “the louder your scream the more you get heard”.  The Far Left is getting heard.

 Balanced diversity trainers see, hear and feel the residual damage of these trainers.  They have created two camps in the workplace:  victims and perpetrators. They make differences outstanding by creating divisiveness.  The language they use are degrading to both the “oppressed” and the “oppressor”.  They don’t give credit to the many people who they label as “oppressed” who make it in the world despite the odds. Instead, they will have you think that if you are in this category of “oppressed” than you are doomed because the world is against you and there is no escape from your oppression. How empowering!  Why bother even trying? You are either a victim or an oppressive-racist—those are your two choices.  Take your pick!

 This paradigm is far too simple to have any practical applications to everyday life.  How would the Far Left explain the rise of people like Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama?  Are the predominantly white men who lost their manufacturing jobs in my hometown of London, Ontario still privileged when they are out of work or working in survival jobs?

 While the Far Left likes to talk about inclusion, their language and community is elitist.  You need to belong to the group of the chosen few who develop these words and their meanings and expect the rest of the world to adopt. If you don’t use the words in the right way or to their liking you are given a big label.  Usually the label is “racist” but there are other good ones as well like “heterosexist”, ‘islamaphobe”, and the list goes on.  Realistically, if you disagree with the Far Left radicals, be prepared to be given a label and silenced.  Sounds a little like oppression to me!

 The Far Left do not realize that they create the same tactics of intimidation they accuse the privilege of engaging.  Labeling people before they get to know them is  called generalizing  and then comes the stereotyping.  This movement has done a really good job in falsely categorizing individuals.

 How strong is this radical movement?  Regularly,  I connect with employers and managers who find themselves intimidated and stressed by the tactics of these radicals who can be very threatening in an organization  if they don’t get what they want.  Misunderstandings that could easily be resolved through patience, dialogue and perhaps mediation become out of control.  Sadly, these incidents turn into replicating what the Far Left say they are against.  Furthermore, the employer will be less likely to hire someone from certain ethnic/racial/ or other groups because they don’t want to have “any more problems” again.

 To the Far Left, I say it is time to allow dissenting voices to speak without punishment.  We need to be having more diversity dialogues in this country, silencing others and shaming differing viewpoints is not the answer.  We need to hear from everyone and sort out how we can work to create a peaceful country where we can all be included.

Diversity Training Shouldn’t Be Comfortable


Evelina Silveira, President, Published Author, Public Speaker and Diversity Trainer

I remember hearing a clergyman one day talking about marriage and its ups and downs. He spoke about couples who argue commenting that: “If you don’t occasionally argue or disagree, you can’t possibly be speaking about anything important”.

The same can be said about diversity training. Your beliefs and values should be challenged and called into question. This is part of the learning process. Diversity training is just as much about personal growth as it is about gaining knowledge of others. If the trainer, has not aroused any uncomfortable emotions in you, there is a good chance that the following may have happened:

– You weren’t paying attention
– They stuck with “safe” topics.

Trainers who stick with “safe topics” do themselves and their trainees a disservice. Workplace diversity is very complicated. It is not easy for us to integrate many different types of people and expect them to get along. When you do not discuss the unpopular and controversial situations you are cheating your participants of the opportunity to learn how to deal with them and to begin the discussion. You make it seem like it should be so easy to do and why are they having so many problems?

The reality for the most part, trainers want to be liked. It makes it easier to get more business. But diversity training is not like other types of training. Some of it is based on our personal values and beliefs and that can be difficult to balance within a training session. Each person who comes to training will have a unique experience with diversity whether it be good or bad. A good trainer allows the bad to come through as well, and works with it rather than denounces it.

Next time you are hiring a diversity trainer, ask them whether they are willing to handle some of the really contentious workplace diversity issues that have come my way. For example, how would they feel about using the following experiences that have been presented to me in my work:

– A straight man who is harassed by a gay man
– A blind woman who bullies her immigrant co-worker because of his accent
– A First Nations woman who accuses you of discrimination because she does not meet the workplace standards
– An immigrant woman who wants to take you to the Ontario Human Rights Commission because you fired her for preaching over the phone.
– A General Manager who consistently makes racist and sexist remarks.

It is only by working through these real-life situations as described above will we make progress in how to deal with them. We need to abandon our political correctness that makes some groups as angels and others as devils. Diversity trainers should challenge themselves to use real-life workplace situations instead of labeling some groups as sacrosanct or untouchable. Creating unrealistic expectations of certain groups is an insult to the groups themselves and to the participants’ intelligence.

Next time, if you leave a diversity training session provoked or uncomfortable that might be a good thing. You should be taken out of your comfort zone with challenging workplace examples that can be used to create balanced and fair solutions for each situation.

Diversity at Work does not use political correctness as an excuse for excluding certain workplace diversity topics. Call us today for how we can help you get closer to your goal of inclusion. 519-659-4777 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 519-659-4777 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting

You’ve Come a Long Way Baby…. But They Haven’t


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Evelina Silveira, President Diversity at Work

News Flash!  Sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape are making the global headlines.  Whether it is the gang rape of women and children in India or closer to home the stories about our Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the American Military.

We have a real global problem. With all of the advances women have made we  are not taking seriously on the job.  We are still in an age where authorities will turn a blind eye to violence against women and children.  We don’t have to look very far to see that women’s basic right to safety continues to be violated even in democratic countries like India, Canada and the United States.

Our Western countries are supposedly the beacons of progress and equality – but I guess that is not the case if you are a woman who wants to enter into a patriarchal institution like the US Military and the RCMP.

I have a few questions for the officials.  Did you ever prepare to have women be a part of your forces?  What proactive steps did you take to ensure that the women would be taken seriously by yourself and those you lead? What policies were put into place? What kind of screening questions were used to disqualify members who could not work respectfully in a male/female workplace? What training was given? Did anyone ever argue that there was a  “business case” for having women in these positions? What kind of training was involved to bring acceptance and respect for fellow female officers in these institutions?   It seems like none of this happened.  Clearly the RCMP and the US Military have failed women when it comes to affording them the same respect that male officers have been given.

 A lot of pain could have been prevented that the brave women endured.  An infrastructure was needed which could have:

  • ·         screened out people who cannot work respectfully alongside members of the opposite sex,
  •        had a knowledgeable and sensitive official who the victims could trust .

We’ve come a long way indeed, but some of our institutions definitely need to catch up when it comes to workplace respect and safety for women.

If you would like more information about gender sensitivity training, please contact:

Diversity at Work   519-659-4777 or info@yourdiversityatwork.com.

Thank You Mr. Milligan: A Bright Light With the Thames Valley School Board


Evelina Silveira, President Diversity At Work

So often we hear how the school system is failing to keep our children safe.  How bullying seems to be on the rise and the labour strife between the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario and the Government of Ontario doesn’t seem to want to budge.

But amid the turmoil, is a shining light at the Thames Valley District School Board — a principal who takes his job seriously when it comes to children’s safety and inclusive education.

Mr. Colin Milligan of Princess Anne French Immersion School in London, has put the “pal” back into the word “principal” with his kind but firm and professional approach to dealing with both parents and students.

He heads a large elementary school with a cross-section of  diverse children from South London and beyond.

When a group of dispondent Grade 7 children came to visit him expressing their disappointment with the withdrawal of extra-curricular activities, he listened.  Others may have turned the children away, but he decided that they would problem solve together.  They surveyed their fellow students and came up with some ideas of what they could do.  They were involved in an assembly and collaborated on a video on the theme of “Words are Powerful” and that was just the beginning!

Mr. Milligan takes bullying seriously, and he doesn’t need a school policy to tell him it is wrong.  He doesn’t tolerate it.  Not because he has to.  Because he wants to and it comes from his heart.

My daughter spends a lot of time in the principal’s office and so do her friends.  Not because they are in trouble, but because they like him and they want to work with him to build the best school possible. Their education has been enriched by the projects, teamwork and nurtured friendships.  When I get a call from the school principal, it’s a good thing.

(In my day, going to the principal’s office to talk about a problem was unthinkable.  You might as well suffer in silence until graduation because they acted more like sergeants than role models. Change is good).

Thank you also to Madame Wilkie the school’s Vice Principal who is also another empathetic ear, a real gem and a great role model for the students.

Merci Madame et Monsieur pour ton bon travail.  Felicitations!

Bullying and Peer Pressure: Lessons From the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario


With all the anti-bullying lessons going on in school these days, it seems that some of the members of the ETFO must have skipped out on the education. Or worse, listened but did not feel that anti-bullying applied to them.

Okay, I understand. You feel that you have been betrayed. I get that. However, please accept my apology. I don’t sympathize. Everyday in my work, I see many examples of people who do not receive a decent wage, who have to take work home at night so that they can stay on top of their job just to keep it. I see families working two and three jobs to put food on the table with no hope of ever having a two month vacation and benefits and more. They don’t get to go home at 4:00. When they are sick and cannot go to work, their families don’t eat. These my friend, are real grievances, and your lobbying power and skills could be best put to use to protect these hard-working individuals who are drowning in this recession with no voice, instead of getting in the way of good dedicated teachers doing their job. On top of it, the people who will suffer the most with these flash strikes and withdrawal of extra-curricular activities are those families who are struggling to stay afloat and cannot afford the sports, the dance and other lessons. Who is supposed to look after the children whose parents will lose their wages or worst yet their jobs if they cannot show up for work? How many children will be left neglected, unattended or in an unsafe environment, because their parent has to go to work or they risk losing their job? A friend told me that her child would be graduating this year and it will cost each family $500 per child, because the teachers have been told that they are not permitted to hand out fundraising information. No fundraising will be allowed. With this approach there could be lots of students unable to take part because their parents cannot afford $500.00. These are painful choices and the ETFO says it has the children’s best interest in mind? How is that so?

Stop the bullying and the peer pressure! I am talking about the Watch Dogs hanging outside the schools, making sure that teachers don’t stay after hours. It’s the people who follow teachers to their cars, intimidating them because they have stayed to talk to a concerned parent. I have heard of several examples of teachers feeling afraid of the consequences of doing anything outside of what these Watch Dogs have demanded. They fear isolation from other teachers who are supporting the Union’s demands and potential retaliation that can occur when members side against them. In any other organization, these  coercive tactics would not be permitted. I’m confused.  The ETFO speaks about its democratic right, but don’t these teachers who just want to go ahead with their usual business have democractic rights as well?

In this case, we have learned : bullies are untouchable and that peer pressure wins.

Thank you for a lesson on bullying and peer pressure!

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