Tuesday, April 12, 2011

He Was A Great Teacher, But Was Fired Anyway

Jan Buterman is a transgendered person. And a teacher.

In 2008, he received a letter from the Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools that praised him for his teaching abilities.

Then he was fired for not being aligned with the values of the Catholic Church.

In other words, for being transgendered.

The Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools offered up a settlement of sorts: Buterman would receive a cash payout of $78,000 or or a one-year teaching job as long as he shut his transgendered yap about being fired, and dropped his human rights complaint.

Jan Buterman gave a big F-U to the Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools, because, as he says, “I don’t want to be muzzled. They don’t want me to talk about the fact that they, as an employer, claiming authority from the Catholic Church, have discriminated against me because of my medical status as a transsexual person.”

But he knows that his human rights complaint might be dismissed, as the Catholic school board is expected to ask the Alberta Human Rights Commission to drop the complaint since a “fair and reasonable settlement” was offered.

But is it fair? To pay him off with cash or a one-year job just so he won't file a complaint? Is that fair and reasonable?

Hardly. It's a payoff. They've taken his job, for which the Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools praised him, and asked him to simply keep quiet.

What's fair about that? Or even reasonable?

David Keohane, superintendent of the Catholic school district, says the board has been working with the human rights commission to try to ensure the offer is seen as fair and reasonable: “It is about how the commission is being satisfied with how we are dealing with the issue and the appearance of being reasonable. Everything is completely reasonable ... given the absolute nature of how the issue represented itself, and we believe that we have been abundantly fair.”

Buying silence is fair, I guess, to the Catholic Church. I mean, haven't they tried this with victims of pedophile priests? Offering those innocent children and their families a little cash to keep quiet.

Fair. Reasonable.

And, apparently, the Alberta Teachers’ Association also thinks the cash payoff, er, payout, is fair. The union will no longer pay for Buterman’s lawyers, calling the bribe, er, payout, “substantial”. They also advised Buterman that rejecting the settlement because of its confidentiality clause could make Buterman look bad.

I don't think he looks bad. I think he looks like a teacher, lauded for his teaching skills, who was fired without cause simply for being transgendered. I think, if anything, it makes the Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools look bad.

Buying silence. But, as I've said, this is nothing new to the Catholic Church. They've been buying silence for decades in order to save face.



froggy said...

Canada, your slip is showing!

Stan in NH said...

Froggy, I love that remark. It's irreverant, which I like, and spot on. That's just like Bob. :)