School of Secrets is another interesting The Passionate Eye documentaries. If you have every wondered why it was important for children to get sex ed courses and for parents to talk to their teens about sexuality, the story of some of the girls involved in the Prince of Wales High School Quest program in B.C. should be answer enough. It airs Tuesday April 8th at 10:00 P.M.
Over many, many years, Tom Ellison, a respected teacher who took out groups of students on a five-month wilderness curriculum program abused some of his young charges. Many of the girls were or became enamored with him and he simply used that to take advantage of them. This documentary tells their story.
School of Secrets is well-made and up to the usual CBC standards. Some of the women who testified against Ellison some twenty-five or thirty years later tell their stories.
It is interesting how some still blame themselves or provide excuses for Ellison's behavior even though they now know and suspected then something was not quite right.
This is quite an even-handed show even if it would have been nice to hear from the two other male teachers who went with Ellison and the students on the Quest program.
I also found it interesting that the film makers included a discussion between former Questers who had nothing but great memories of their wilderness semester and now feel that memory tainted and wonder if they should have noticed something was going on.
Then again, many people should have noticed something was going on. There had always been rumors.
The teachers' union even sent someone to confront the three teachers about the rumors at some point in time.
Being a teacher, what I found particularly ironic and quite telling of the school administration system is what led to Ellison's downfall with the school had nothing to do with his sexual relations with underage students.
I do not want to give away that little gem but it really, really says a lot about how schools are managed and how administrators approach problems.