I’m sure that few folks living today were raised partially or completely by supervisors. The only children brought up in such an unnatural way were orphans, missionary kids, native students of residential schools, and disabled children. The average citizen can’t imagine being sent 500 miles from home, as I was, to be educated in uncaring asylums for months at a stretch.The worst aspect about such institutions was that a variety of abuses were allowed to happen, often concealed from the public for decades. Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind, to which I was exiled, was closed in 1992 when 350 deaf students and alumni filed and eventually won a sexual abuse class action suit against the British Columbia government. We blind students didn’t suffer that sort of indignity, for the most part, but another type of abuse occurred.
From Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School), here’s one example of a heartless supervisor and her self-centred attitude toward her charges.
Mrs. Parker returned to work driving a new metallic blue Mustang. As in the previous year, she commandeered me to wash it. “Can’t somebody else do that?” I objected. “I still have my cast on.”
“You still have one good arm. Get out there and wash my car and stop complaining.”
I reluctantly shuffled, bucket and rag in hand, to the parking lot. My right arm became very tired after a few minutes. I wished my left was out of the cast so I could alternate hands. I felt extremely tempted to dump the bucket of water over the roof of the car and hide behind the school for an hour. As that would only earn me more punishment, I continued scrubbing and muttering to myself. The only consolation that afternoon was that I worked alone and she was not scrutinizing my every move.
Deliverance from Jericho
contains many more vignettes of what life was like in that government-run institution. These range from poignant experiences of homesickness to hilarious incidents of mischief. Click here to read more about this book and to order it. You may also e-mail me directly for more information.