Water­ford teacher de­nies be­ing against vac­cines

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - LIAM CASEY

TORONTO — A dis­ci­plinary hear­ing for a Water­ford teacher ac­cused of telling stu­dents they could die as a re­sult of vac­ci­na­tion is hear­ing from a pub­lic health nurse who says she felt in­tim­i­dated by the man’s ac­tions.

An­gela Swick, a nurse with the Haldimand-Nor­folk Health Unit, says Ti­mothy C. Sul­li­van shouted at her and her col­leagues when they vis­ited the school on March 9, 2015.

Tes­ti­fy­ing at Sul­li­van’s dis­ci­plinary hear­ing Tues­day, Swick said the teacher ac­cused her of with­hold­ing in­for­ma­tion from stu­dents who were be­ing vac­ci­nated.

Sul­li­van de­nies those al­le­ga­tions, ar­gu­ing he was warn­ing stu­dents about the risks as­so­ci­ated with vac­cines.

The On­tario Col­lege of Teach­ers is ac­cus­ing Sul­li­van of pro­fes­sional mis­con­duct for telling stu­dents they could die from vac­cines and al­legedly telling the nurse she was hid­ing in­for­ma­tion about the shot from stu­dents.

Sul­li­van says his is­sue is with in­formed con­sent rather than the vac­cines them­selves.

“I am pro in­formed con­sent, pro sci­ence and pro ask­ing ques­tions,” he said dur­ing a break in the hear­ing.

Sul­li­van has been sus­pended with pay since April 15, 2015. He teaches in Water­ford in the Grand Erie District School Board, but his school can­not be named due to a publi­ca­tion ban in place to pro­tect stu­dents’ iden­ti­ties.

Swick de­scribed sev­eral en­coun­ters with Sul­li­van she said left her feel­ing “un­easy.”

The teacher came into the cafe­te­ria as she and her col­leagues were ad­min­is­ter­ing four dif­fer­ent types of vac­cines and de­manded in­for­ma­tion about the drugs, she said. He was asked to leave, she added.

“He then turned around, came back and put his hands in front of me (on the desk) and said ‘I hope you’re let­ting th­ese stu­dents know th­ese vac­cines could cause death,’” Swick told the hear­ing.

Swick said she im­me­di­ately texted her su­per­vi­sor be­cause she wor­ried there would be more in­ter­ac­tions with Sul­li­van as the day went on. He did in fact re­turn, she said, and “asked the kids if they knew what was in the vac­cine and shouted at them not to get it.”

Swick said she alerted the prin­ci­pal, who came to the cafe­te­ria with an­other teacher who watched the side door for signs of Sul­li­van.

The third en­counter was more of the same, she said. “We felt re­ally in­tim­i­dated and scared,” Swick said. “We go into the school to do a ser­vice, we feel for­tu­nate to go into schools — we just didn’t have an en­counter like this be­fore.”

Sul­li­van, who is rep­re­sent­ing him­self, pep­pered Swick with ques­tions about in­formed con­sent dur­ing his cross-ex­am­i­na­tion, ask­ing the nurse whether she told stu­dents about rare but po­ten­tially se­ri­ous side ef­fects. Swick said she doesn’t warn stu­dents about vac­cines’ se­ri­ous side ef­fects as part of her rou­tine. But, she said, she will in­form stu­dents of cer­tain side ef­fects if it ap­pears rel­e­vant based on the stu­dent’s an­swers to her screen­ing ques­tions.

“If they are on heart med­i­ca­tion, then we move onto some­thing like hy­per­ten­sion,” Swick said.

The hear­ing is sched­uled to last two days.


Teacher Ti­mothy C. Sul­li­van leaves a dis­ci­plinary hear­ing in Toronto on Tues­day. He is ac­cused of be­ing con­fronta­tional to a group of pub­lic health nurses giv­ing vac­ci­na­tions at his school.

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