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Toronto ON — Toronto Scientologists are in control of a private school offering night and weekend courses in reading and grammar to children and adults using methods that are based on the effective educational techniques fully developed by American educator and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard.
Education Alive, a one-room operation on Spadina Road near Dupont Avenue, charges $100 to teach 6-year-old children how to use a dictionary, $10 an hour to learn to read and $200 for a 12-week course in grammar. A course called Subject Rehabilitation (clean up the difficulties in any subject so you feel happy continuing in that subject) costs $18 for the first hour and $10 for each subsequent hour.
There is a special $200 course for teachers to help them build up a student's interest and responsibility in study.
Besides a photograph of Mr. Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, hanging on the office wall and a reference in a brochure to the school's use of his methods, there is little to link Education Alive with the cult. Staff were reluctant to talk about the connection.
However, Ildi Rethy, the leasing manager of Omnitown Developments Ltd., the company that rents the third-floor room to Education Alive, said the lease was negotiated by Hilary Rockl, the wife of Rev. Raymond Rockl, the director of public affairs for the Canadian Churches of Scientology.
A past principal of Education Alive, York University English professor Bruce Flattery, openly admitted his own belief in Scientology during a telephone interview, but he would not talk about the night school's activities.
The prudent thing for me to do would be for me to keep my mouth shut, he said and referred inquiries to the present principal, Betty Millen, a separate school teacher. He said Miss Millen is also a Scientologist.
Reached at St. Francis of Assisi separate school in Toronto, where she teaches, Miss Millen said she could not talk about Education Alive while she was at work and said she would discuss it in the evening.
When she was visited at the night school, Miss Millen at first denied she was a member of the cult. When asked why Mr. Flattery would have said she was a Scientologist, she replied: I have taken courses, but I am not a member in the sense of going to church there every Sunday. She then said she could not deny she was a cult member.
Another woman, who refused to be identified, took Miss Millen aside and when they returned Miss Millen said she did not want to answer any more questions.
A reporter was told to leave and on the way out met a man who said he had three children enrolled in the school's reading program at a cost of $110 each.
Mr. Flattery called a reporter later and said he had been in touch with Mrs. Rockl and she had asked him to reply to questions about the program. He reiterated his belief that Miss Millen is a Scientologist and said all the teachers at Education Alive — some of whom have no teaching training — are paid. He said Mrs. Rockl is paid a retainer fee but she does not keep the money. It goes to the church.
The school is described in its own brochure as a non-profit organization.