6 Teachers Balk, Fired Over Scientology Book

Source: Chicago Sun Times
Date: April 17, 1986

Six teachers at a Park Ridge Montessori school were fired yesterday after refusing to use books designed by Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, school officials said.

Janet Bowes, founder and director of the Children's Learning World, 2703 W. Sibley, said the teachers were dismissed "strictly" because they violated their contracts. She said the school, which has 215 students, was not introducing any religious studies to the curriculum.

"This is strictly a secular matter," Bowes said. "I'm the leader of the school, and I call the shots. These people refused to use study techniques that are used all over the world."

Two of the teachers reached by the Chicago Sun-Times said their attorneys advised them not to comment.

Bowes, a member of the Church of Scientology, said the problems began when she introduced a Hubbard publication, "The Learning Book," into the school curriculum.

A spokesman for Bowes, Arte Maren, of a Los Angeles public-relations firm, the Advisory, said the book is a "very effective study technique."

"If there is religious doctrine in this study technology, then I'm with you, but it's completely and utterly devoid of anything religious," he said.

The teachers, described as "veterans" of the 16-year-old school, held a meeting protesting the Hubbard materials and also warned parents about the Hubbard book, Bowes said.

A parent who asked not to be identified said his 10-year-old daughter came home Tuesday with a note from Bowes informing them the Hubbard book was going to be used in the fall. The parent said the six teachers were fired when they arrived for work yesterday because they disagreed with the teaching method.

The Church of Scientology was founded in 1952 by Hubbard, a onetime science-fiction writer and explorer. In 1979, 11 of its leaders were convicted on charges of theft from U.S. government offices.

Kitt Whittle, speaking for Applied Scholastics U.S., a Hubbard consulting firm in California, said the teachers were "confused" about the book and its application.

"This isn't Scientology," she said. "That's a religion. This technology isn't sponsored by the Church of Scientology."