Friday, June 15, 2007

Hitting Close to Home

It's always distressing when you're surfing on-line for news and you come across articles like this - especially when you happen to be a teacher in the north. I can't believe the guy received a sentence of only 14 months! What an utter joke! I suppose some comfort can be taken in the knowledge that this man will never get a teaching position again. Somehow, I don't think this will matter very much to his victims.

I can remember when these type of issues were brought up in teachers college. It is something that, as a young male teacher, I paid VERY close attention to. Not that I was paranoid about it or anything like that. But given what I knew about the history of education in the north I felt it would be wise not to miss lectures involving those types of discussions.

Just to give you an idea of how close to home this hits for me, I was teaching in nearby Fort Smith during part of the time frame of events laid out in this article. Furthermore, a former teacher/principal here in Arctic Bay, the infamous Maurice Cloughley, has done jail time for much the same thing. To my knowledge, his case is still dragging through the court system as new events come to light. I even have colleagues on staff here who were taught by this man. Its one thing to read about it in a newspaper but when you actually know people who were involved, it really makes you stop and think. In the past I have even avoided certain communities and certain teaching responsibilities precisely because of this sort of thing.

Maurice Cloughley wrote a book about his time spent in the north during the '60s and '70s - a book I happen to have and to have read many times over. So I knew before my arrival here that he had spent time in Arctic Bay. I once asked a colleague about what it was like to have an individual like this teaching you in a northern classroom. What she told me truly shocked me. So much so that I am debating with myself about how to go about blogging this. She said he was a good teacher but would do things like have students remove all their clothing in the classroom. She also mentioned how a lot of undeveloped film was found in his possession. Film of what, one can only imagine.

This was all she felt comfortable to tell me and so I did not pry any further. I really got an education that day, let me tell you. I'm not really sure how to end this post other than to say that it is assholes (please pardon the word, but what other word can I really use here?) like Cloughley and Lizotte that have damaged lives and communities with a flagrant disregard for the trust that was placed in them. It is the younger generation of northerners as well as novice teachers such as myself that now have to deal with the fall-out. So thanks a lot....jerk.


Thomas W. Watson said...

What book are you referring to? Please tell me this isnt the author of The Spell of the Midnight Sun

Way Way Up said...

I double-checked to be sure and he did write a book with that title, sorry to say.

G West said...

I also knew Maurice Cloughley. He and his wife Katie moored their boat, Nanook, at a Marina I ran in Sidney, Vancouver Island, in the mid to late 1980s.

In fact, he wrote a book about sailing around the world in the late sixties called A WORLD TO THE WEST.

He was also an accomplished artist and print maker and his work "Untangling the Traces" has appeared on the cover of the Canadian Parliamentary Review.

I have a framed print of his on the wall in my home - another print called "Mooseskin Canoes at Fort Norman".

When I learned about the trial - and his subsequent sentencing and incarceration - I had trouble making the connection between what he was being charged with (and had evidently done) and the man (and writer) I thought I knew.

I'm still not comfortable with the sense I must have missed something in the man - and I keep that picture on the wall to remind me, always, that things are not always as they seem.

Hope you don't mind my posting this.

Way Way Up said...

I don't mind your comment at all, G West. It is indeed a sad episode and I certainly don't envy northern educators who have to put up with this sad legacy.

Anonymous said...

I knew this so called teacher who was my teacher,,, he is cold and heartlesssss,,, he didn't serve out his time making us look like we are not important nor give us heads up on his early parole,,, they should have at least told us he was NOT going too and now I have trusting problems and they are my kids,,I kept it from my mom because she was the sweetest lil elder and her heart was precious to me so I kept that from her,,,and its still hard living with what he did to me,,I loath him and that will never change

You think thats wrong of me, to hate another when they say fotgiveness sets you free, I DON'T want too

Anonymous said...

I knew Mo and Katie in the 70s when I lived in Clyde River. They were good friends to me. They had a warm loving relationship. I find these accusations impossible to believe and very unfair. It's a good thing they have moved on to better places.

Way Way Up said...

Too bad the same can't be said for his victims.

Arlene Ehrlich said...

I ordered, and received today, Cloughley's book 'A World To The West.' Researching him I learned of the subject of the above post. I may say that, sadly, all things are possible among human behavior. I grieve for the long lasting damage done to the children involved.
And too, my mind almost immediately leapt to a concern for his wife, named Katie, I believe. I do hope she has not suffered too horribly due to the actions of her husband.
In any case, sorry to say, this will be in my mind at every page of his book.