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Opening Arguments

Someone else

What the world is becoming:

The lawsuit, which a judge recently ruled would be heard by the B.C. Supreme Court, is one example of a growing trend of parents who, unhappy with their children's education, take their complaints to court. But it is also a sign of the extended reach of parental meddling. Increasingly, teachers are being challenged in court, in cases that accuse them of everything from emotional distress to victimization for offences that range from handing out low marks to punishing too harshly.

This latest case involves Kenneth H. Finkelstein, a management consultant in Victoria who is suing his son's private school teacher for "intentional infliction of emotional distress."

In a statement of claim first filed in court last fall, Mr. Finkelstein said that his son "suffered and will continue to suffer loss and damages" -- including anguish, suffering, humiliation, embarrassment, anxiety, worry and loss of dignity --because Susan Rialp, the boy's teacher at Selkirk Montessori School, did not make him do his homework or coax his reading and comprehension, and in one case, put his unfinished poem in a hallway for all to see. Ms. Rialp "falsely created and attempted to reinforce artificial differences between his son and his peers and falsely asserted the son exhibits behavioural difficulties," according to the writ.

Why in the world do people want to become teachers today? Teaching, despite its drawbacks, at least once had the reward of putting its practioners in the thick of advancing the common culture. Everyone -- parents, teachers, society at large -- knew what was to be taught and how to get it across. If the common culture becomes "Go my own way until it becomes obbious that puts me at a disadvantae, then blame someone else," then it's not a good time to be the someone elses.

Posted in: Current Affairs