Some Canadian Skeptic is mad.
The last time I wrote about some skeptic-stuff in Ontario, more specifically, the Georgian Bay area, it was to report on a meteor being recorded on video as it plummeted to earth. This time, a Barrie mother had to pull her autistic daughter out of school because a psychic said she was being sexually abused.
Do I need to say it? WTF is wrong with people? No, I didn't need to say that? sorry.
Kudos to the normally-hyper-reactionary Children's Aid Society for seeing this allegation for what it was, as it unapologetically treated it as a ridiculous claim, and quickly closed the case.
But it seems that the Simcoe County School Board has treated this like any other sexual abuse claim. We have reversed the position of the witch hunts: it is now the witches who need only to cry foul, where "she turned me into a newt!" has transformed into "this poor autistic child was taken advantage of!"
Well, part of that is true. The autistic child IS being taken advantage of, by leecherous true-believer psychics and scam-artists alike by using an already ill-understood and very public disease to serve their crooked, un-science means. I say 'un-science' and not the standard skeptic charge of 'pseudo-science' very deliberatley in this case: Cases like this encourage people to think unscientifically....they actively remove science from the discourse, with the end benefit being that more people believe this nonesense, and similar nonesense.
I encourage everyone who reads this to send a letter to the Simcoe County Disctrict School Board and express your outrage (if, indeed you are as remotely outraged as I am about this...I don't mean to be presumptious here)....Embarass them. It works. Encourage them to not only issue a public apology to the mother and child, but to publically acknowledge that these sorts of charges will no longer be tolerated and that it is the official position of the School Board (which is, after all, tax-payer funded) that there has been no scientific validity to ANY psychic claims, and that the psychic should be charged with public mischief and false allegations, and the mother be compensated by either the psychic or the Board for her time off of work.
Their contact information is:
Simcoe County District School Board
Phone Number is 705-728-7570
Fax number is 705-728-2265
Email is: email@example.com
It's bad enough that the poor child is autistic. It's even worse that the mother has to be a parent of an autistic child. And now these already beleagured people get attacked in a very public way by one of the most insulting of pseudo-sciences.
Don't let them get away with this.
I just finished sending off my letter. I hope you all do something similar. Here's what I wrote:
I was deeply saddened to see on the news story that the SCDSB did not treat the allegations of sexual abuse by the unamed psychic for what they were: nonesense and taking advantage of this poorly-understood disease.
My sister and I are both alumi of the SCDSB, and my brother still is. Together, our family has been under the school board for nearly 40 years. I find it reprehensible that the mother in question, Colleen Leduc was forced into the position she now finds herself in over such a demonstrably fallacious practice. A practice that, as a quick glance at history, is RIFE with the most underhanded tactics designed to prey on the weak, gullible, and vulnerable.
As a tax-paying citizen of Ontario, and as someone whose ties are so interwoven with in the Simcoe Country District School Board, I demand that:
1) The board issue a public apology to Colleen Leduc and her daughter, Victoria.
2) The board publically denounce the practice of psychics, and insist that psychic claims/allegations will never be taken seriously unless they are backed up by solid evidence.
3) The board publically reflect the inherent secular nature therein by announcing that it does not accept any claims of the paranormal. This is a tax-payer funded institution, and should reflect a proper respect scientific inquiry, not baseless witch-hunting.
4) Charge the psychic with making a fallacious allegation of criminal activity, and of public mischief.
5) The board or the psychic must also compensate the mother for the time off of work she has been forced into.
It's bad enough that this poor mother has been forced to raise an autistic child. It's embarassing and horrible that the board is willing to throw their two lives into utter turmoil over such a demonstrably fraudulent practice.