Supports lacking in trade college system, man says

Barb
Barb Sweet
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Ed Taylor said his experience trying to straighten his life out through trade school has been disappointing.

A failed attempt to start over at a local trade school for Ed Taylor, who suffers from a severe learning disability and mental illness, was more debilitating than being sent to prison, he says.

"This is more stressful now than when I got arrested. ... I was at the bottom trying to work my way up," said Taylor. "There's nothing set up for people with disorders."

Taylor is a former prison guard who in early 2012 was sentenced for planning to deal drugs at Her Majesty's Penitentiary (HMP), where he worked. He was sent to prison with a judge's order regarding his treatment for bipolar disorder and has since been released.

Taylor lost his job at HMP in 2010 when he was found with illegal and prescription drugs, along with other unauthorized items, that were destined for inside the prison.

Since he got out of jail, Taylor has been trying to get on with his life. Those plans included a heavy equipment course at the Operating Engineers College (OEC).

Taylor said a few days at the school left him feeling there was no compassion and no allowances in the trade school system for people with severe learning disabilities - he also has attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - and mental-health concerns.

Taylor said when he finally got accepted after a roughly two-year wait, he requested some paperwork be faxed to a government department in connection with his school funding. But there was a delay in that request getting granted. He was told to come in a few hours later, and it still wasn't done. Taylor said he commented on the delay, and the way his feedback was handled by the administration left him feeling put on the spot and humiliated. He said a school official threatened to call the police because he talked loudly. He insists he did not use foul language or make threats.

"I asked for an apology. ... It was unjustified," he said.

Taylor is now looking at options to go out of the province for school and has a lead for a college that does have some supports for people dealing with learning disabilities and mental-health issues.

"I am 34. Now is the time to act, not next year," Taylor said.

Lorna Harnum of the Operating Engineers College could not speak to Taylor's assertions, because of confidentiality rules.

But she said the school has policies and they were followed. Any concerns brought forward by students are dealt with and appropriate measures taken, she said.

Harnum said the school works with pupils who have individual learning disabilities and provide appropriate medical documentation.

"It's a very common thing," she said of learning disabilities, adding many students dealing with such conditions are successful in the college's programs.

Taylor said the only supports he was made aware of was the ability to take tests in a separate classroom, but half his class of 20 was in the same situation, so he wouldn't be in a room on his own.

And he said everyone in the class seemed to know his background, which added to his embarrassment.

Within a few days, Taylor spiralled into crisis over what he felt was a disappointing experience and concluded the stress of returning to the school was too much.

His weight has plummeted and he's having trouble eating and sleeping, and even contemplated suicide, he said.

"I haven't felt so depressed in life as I have in the past couple of weeks," Taylor said.

Documentation from his doctor supports his decision to seek another school and speaks of the stress he has been under.

Meanwhile Friday, Taylor received word of a Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court of Appeal decision in his case, in which he will not return to prison.

Taylor said he's determined to keep on the straight path and not "go back to that horrible nightmare."

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Organizations: Operating Engineers College, Taylor's, Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court

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Recent comments

  • There's nothing
    June 22, 2013 - 14:02

    There's nothing like Newfoundland compassion. Now please return the knife from your back... I see someone in a wheelchair!

    • Bayman
      June 24, 2013 - 09:28

      The comments below may show lack of compassion, but can you blame them?? He had a job that alot of people would dream of having and screwed it up. He had a job for life with a great pension/benifits for life. He violated alot of authority. He broke a great deal of trust that the govt had in him. He pretty much did the worst thing he could do in his position, and now he is out looking for people to join his pity party. When you get out of jail you don't get to press the reset button. You actually have to face the real world which, as it turns out, is small town St John's. Everywhere he goes people will know him, so he better believe there will be hurdles, roadblocks and tough times. He will be profiled for a long time. Not forever, but a long time. I know this from experience. He made his bed, and he is not done sleeping in it. I know Eddie from along time ago, and I wish him well, but he needs to be strong and power through understanding what the people who are looking at him see.

  • mike
    June 22, 2013 - 10:21

    I can't believe what I am reading. Poor Mr.Taylor wa wa wa .You had a good job ,but you f$^*#d it up when you did what you did. I could not get a job at HMP when I was looking for a job when I was your age,and now your bitching about how hard it is for you .Well grow up and stop bitching.I did that course you a complaining about many years ago and the government paid for 80% and yes there was a lot of red tape.It took me 8 years to pay back my student loan from that course and I never worked 1 day at Heavy Equipment .So stop bitching.If you didn't bring drugs into prison you still be working and contributing to life. Get a back bone, .put your head down and get through this course and thank the power to be you have a second chance. UNFRIGGEN BELIEVEABLE.

  • whocares
    June 22, 2013 - 09:36

    There's lots of us that have NEVER had a decent job and DIDN'T lose it after breaking the law and have PAID for education and STILL don't have a job. So get over it, leave the province and go somewhere else.

  • Good
    June 22, 2013 - 08:00

    Good for you to try to turn your life around but don't expect the world to bend over backwards to help you. Not everybody sympathizes with drug dealers. You may have not thought you were loud but if they were going to cal the police, there must be something to it. Not really sure if i would want you operating heavy machinery on the road. We have enough trouble drivers as it is.

  • Springwater
    June 22, 2013 - 07:49

    If as he states he has a learning disability, how did he become a correctional officer? You need to go to school for that now. Of course people are going to know who he is, he was in a position of authority, got caught and now everyone is aware of his story. Suck it up buttercup!