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Cultist sets up group to fight tests on pupils

Title: Cultist sets up group to fight tests on pupils
Date: Friday, 1 February 1980
Publisher: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Author: Denys Horgan
Main source:

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Toronto ON — A Scientologist who, with the encouragement of cult founder L. Ron Hubbard, organized parents to fight the education system of British Columbia three years ago has joined forces with a Toronto Scientologist to organize parents in a similiar battle in Ontario.

Arda Froese, the founder of Parents Interested in Education in Vancouver, has come to live in Port Credit and with the help of Scientologist Ester MacPherson has established an Ontario branch of the organization.

Mrs. Froese says one of the reasons she came to Ontario is that we had almost reached our goal in B. C.

Members of PIE are opposed to psychological testing of children in schools and document what they call cases of psychological abuse, a term that covers anything from games in which pupils simulate the behavior of a small group adrift in a lifeboat to the use of drugs to control hyperactive children.

Mrs. Froese, who says she has no formal training in psychology other than courses in Dianetics, the system devised by Mr. Hubbard, says she founded the group in 1976 as a result of an unhappy experience her 9-year-old daughter had in a discussion group led by a school counsellor.

Shortly afterwards, she said, she wrote to Mr. Hubbard telling him about her work with the group and he replied: Very, very good. Carry on. I love you too, Ron.

According to Mrs. Froese, PIE gets no financial support from and is not a front for the Church of Scientology, but she admitted the lines between the two groups are blurred. She uses the church's photocopying machine and members help with her mailing, she said.

According to Mrs. Froese, the woman she appointed to head the B. C. movement in her absence is also a Scientologist, but the new director, Lorraine Andreychuck, denied she was ever a member of the cult.

A reporter who called the Church of Scientology in Vancouver for the name and telephone number of the director of PIE in British Columbia was put in touch with Mrs. Andreychuck and told she was a church member. Mrs. Andreychuck agreed she was director of PIE but denied emphatically belonging to the cult. I am not a Scientologist and never have been.

However, Mrs. Froese said it is very well known that Mrs. Andreychuck is a Scientologist. When told Mrs. Andreychuck denied it, Mrs. Froese replied: I'm sorry, that is completely and utterly false. I don't know why she would say that. (In a later interview, Mrs. Froese suggested Mrs. Andreychuck was frightened because she had had a feeling she was being followed during a recent visit to Toronto.) Nine people came to the first meeting of PIE in Toronto at the Westbury Hotel on Yonge Street last fall. There was one other Scientologist present — Mrs. MacPherson, who organized the second meeting and has since become Toronto co-ordinator of the group.

The group gave John Sweeney, the Liberal education critic in the Ontario Legislature, details of alleged psychological abuse in the province's schools, and Mr. Sweeney raised PIE's concerns with Education Minister Bette Stephenson during a committee debate on Dec. 17, 1979.

According to Hansard, Dr. Stephenson replied: Do you know where it started? Would you read the note I sent you? Mr. Sweeney said in an interview later that her note asked him whether he knew that PIE was connected with Scientologists. Dr. Stephenson would not reveal the source of the information.

Mr. Sweeney, who is a founder and member of the board of the Council on Mind Abuse, a Toronto-based anti-cult organization, said that had he known of the connection before he got the note from Dr. Stephenson I certainly would not have acted in that way.