Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Practicum Handbook: A Contractual Document

I had sued the University for getting me kicked out of my teaching practicum on the basis that they had conspired with the high school principal, Arlene Skull, to remove me without cause. It was a perfect case of conspiracy because the essence of conspiracy is that the parties to the conspiracy do something which is otherwise legal, but they do it in a way which is intended to harm the third party. And that is exactly what they did. The University asked Mrs. Skull to use her special authority (from Page 28 of the Practicum Handbook) to demand the immediate removal of a student teacher (namely me.) And by doing so they bypassed the Due Process rights which I would have otherwise been entitled to (according to the terms set out on Page 27 of the handbook.)

But my problem was this: the courts had now let Principal Skull off the hook, ignoring my evidence that she lied about my refusal to hand in lesson plans and my "aggressive and confrontational" behavior towards students, and refusing to admit the evidence that she had insisted on the University making the request in writing before she agreed to bypass Page 27 and move to the Page 28 "expedited removal". If  that's not evidence of a conspiracy, I don't know what is.

And remember, on Summary Judgment you don't have to prove the conspiracy, you only need to show evidence "from which a conspiracy might be inferred". Justice Martin of the Queen's Bench therefore cheated me three times: first, when he held me to the standard of proving conspiracy rather than the lesser standard of adducing evidence of one: second, when he found that I had "no evidence whatsoever" to support the claim in conspiracy; and third, when he wrote his judgment, he made no mention of the evidence which I had clearly argued before him, therefore making it all but impossible for me to get his decision overturned on appeal.

The University and the School Division had done a number on me, splitting the defence and forcing me to argue the conspiracy separately before two different judges: first Justice Martin, who refused to listen to anything I had to say about the University's role in initiating the conspiracy, insisting that only the schoolteacher defendants were on trial before him: and now Justice Edmond, who refused to hear anything about the schoolteacher's part in the conspiracy because Justice Martin had already let them off the hook.

So I was left arguing a conspiracy without the co-conspirators. And I could see that Justice Edmond wasn't buying it. So after Mr. Meronek had spent a whole day arguing as to why my case should be thrown out, I stood up on the second day and asked for an adjournment. I wanted to amend my pleadings.

I had filed my claim against the University on the basis of conspiracy, because that's what it was. They couldn't bypass my Due Process rights (Page 27 of the handbook) unless they convinced Mrs. Skull to use her Page 28 powers. And that's exactly what they did. But the Courts were refusing to listen.

But when they bypassed my Page 27 rights, they were doing something else: they were breaching a contract. Because the relationship between a university and its students is, in addition to everything else, also a contractual one. And the terms of that contract are set out in a myriad of documents comprising the University's Policies and procedures...including the Student Teacher Practicum Handbook.

There is one critical difference between a claim in conspiracy and a claim in breach of contract: in conspiracy, the onus is on me to prove intent: I have to prove the state of mind of the conspirators was with intent to harm me. The Schoolteacher's got around this by swearing affidavits as to their purity of intentions. Those affidavits shouldn't have been worth the paper they were written on, especially with all the circumstantial evidence I had in black and white. But going against a hundred years of legal precedent, the Courts found those "bald assertions and self-serving affidavits" to be decisive when applied against Marty Green. So I was screwed.

But in breach of contract I face no such hurdle. I don't have to show ill intentions. I just have to show that I had certain rights under the contract, and the University denied me those rights.

Justice Edmond granted me an adjournment. The University's lawyers announced that they would be opposing my Motion for Leave to Amend.

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