Teacher wants the record set straight

Andrew
Andrew Robinson
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Filed complaints after comments attributed to daughter’s psychologist landed in his employee file

A teacher in St. John’s is not happy with how the Newfoundland and Labrador Psychology Board (NLPB) is handling complaints he made last year.

Comments attributed to his daughter’s psychologist have made it into his employee record and may affect the outcome of an ongoing family court matter.

The man claims those comments were relayed by other people who spoke with the psychologist, and not from the psychologist directly.

He is involved in a custody battle with his former partner.

The Telegram is not publishing his name to protect the identity of those involved in Family Court proceedings.

A staff member at the school his daughter attends brought up a conversation with the psychologist in question, where that person allegedly referred to the father as “a sociopath,” the father said.

That comment eventually found its way into his employee record.

“I never found this out until ... some nine months later, at which point I retained a lawyer to find out why a psychologist who I never had any relationship with, psychologist-to-client, would make such a statement.”

The staff member at his daughter’s school did not respond to a letter from the man’s lawyer. He filed a complaint in November with the NLPB, asking to have the statement either verified or withdrawn.

“For my employer, it doesn’t look good on a person’s record when you’re a teacher for years, you’ve had a stellar career with no complaints, and then all of a sudden it’s on your record that you’re referred to as a sociopath. That has brought extreme mental and emotional stress.”

A social worker with the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services subsequently made a sworn affidavit in Family Court stating the same psychologist was surprised to learn the results of a psychological assessment of her patient’s father. That assessment was completed as part of a parenting capacity assessment and involved two other psychologists.

“(The psychologist) expressed her surprise that (the father) had not been diagnosed with a psychological disorder and noted her concern with his ability to sustain change,” read the sworn affidavit from the social worker.

The father subsequently amended his complaint filed with the NLPB to have that matter also investigated.

“Since then, I have been given nothing but the runaround. I’ve tried to call the psychology board. I never get an answer.”

He has spoken on a number of occasions with NLPB registrar John Harnett, but remains dissatisfied with how long it’s taking for them to deal with his complaints.

He also contacted the Canadian Psychological Association, but was told it had no jurisdiction in the matter.

Contacted by The Telegram this week, Harnett said the board is still waiting to receive correspondence from the psychologist’s lawyer.

“Once we get that, we’ll take it to the next step, whatever that might be,” Harnett said, adding he hopes the matter will be dealt with soon.

“It could be over quickly, depending on the response, or it could take a number of months if it goes to a hearing stage, for example.”

Harnett confirmed it has not been determined whether the complaints in question will need to be addressed through a hearing.

arobinson@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @TeleAndrew

Organizations: Department of Child, Youth and Family Services, Canadian Psychological Association The Telegram

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  • Rumorville
    June 13, 2014 - 07:47

    I hope this man gets a fair hearing. Seems poorly dealt with. Not surprised by this story on a few counts though. Especially where in NL people gossip and some take that ver batim and before you know the local barman or postman is spreading epic gossip got from a jilted ex wife or enemy and in no time your reputation by the court of public opinion is in the tank.