Howard Center: Violating Civil Liberties of Vermonters

By Kevin Leland

I got questions. I can’t get answers from the Howard Center. They are mad at me and won’t return my calls. Why? Because they didn’t like my tone of voice when I complained about the hokey, in-house background check they did on me, using it to determine that I wasn’t safe, and would no longer be allowed to associate with a (barely) intellectually disabled member of the community, because I made them aware of a misdemeanor simple assault conviction for a fist fight (the other guy started by attempting to extort a bribe from me) I was involved in 13 years ago.

Ever see a hockey game?

How could I maintain a tone like one of my heroes, Mr. Rogers, when the investigation and judgement of a team of wet-behind-the-ears, professional social workers puts me, according to them, in the same category, with the same social freedom restrictions, as a convicted sex offender?

This is probably a question for the VT ACLU…How much authority and control, in the name of “protection and personal care” are professional social workers allowed to impose on the adults they are responsible for, as well as fellow members of their community — before they cross the line and begin to violate our American civil liberties, like privacy and freedom of association?

Why did the mother of this client, and his caretakers, John and Leah Pence, along with the Howard Center, encourage me to apply and to fill out and sign a form granting them permission to investigate me in accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act which sets the rules for proper background screening, if they did not intend to hire me based on the honest (negative) information I provided them when they offered me the job, before an official background check was to be done?

Why did they (to this day) fail to follow through and pull a  report from a reputable employment screening company as they led me to believe they did, and really should do to protect their clients, when all they really did is stalk my blogs and facebook page in order to come up with their “adverse decision” regarding the job they coaxed me into applying for?

How did Jonathan and Leah Pence like it when I investigated their blog, and publicized negative information (totally in context) that they posted about themselves in an article titled:

“John and Leah Pence: Apathetic Social Workers?”

After two months, myself and another mutual friend had enjoyed spending over 100 hours with this (questionably) intellectually disabled 21 year old man. The Howard Center calls this “natural time” — that means hanging out with him,  like we do with any of our other friends, no matter their abilities or disabilities, without getting paid. If they are responsible, as they claim, to protect Peter from society’s “bad people” — how much longer were they going to wait to check our criminal backgrounds and verify that we were not convicted sex offenders or murderers, and a danger to him?

Why, after encouraging me to apply, did they change their minds and decide not to “waive” the findings, as they said they would when I told them before hand about what they would discover, so that I would be “cleared” to be alone with Peter, and could even get paid through Aris Solutions, like his other paid respite care providers, for the “community hours” I was spending with him out of charity and natural friendship?

In a “hire and fire at will” state, like Vermont or Rhode Island, employers, a.k.a. “job creators” are exempted from obeying certain laws that prohibit discrimination when offering employment opportunities that a landlord must adhere to when it comes to housing opportunities. When evaluating, a.k.a. “judging” individuals, a landlord can’t say “I won’t rent to you because you are a member of the NRA.” It seems that in hire/fire-at-will states, employers are allowed to discriminate in a way that landlords can’t. Maybe something needs to be done about that?

However, even if these employers are within their legal rights to say “we won’t hire you because we don’t like people who legally possess firearms, or have been in physical altercations, or have ever been convicted of a misdemeanor” or can even say “you’re fired because you associate with a person we don’t like” they can’t say “We investigated you, gathered some social intelligence, and based on what you have revealed about yourself online, we don’t like you and have determined that you are not  allowed to associate, off the clock, with certain members of the community that we do like.”

Does anyone else think it’s humorously ironic that the Howard Center provides methadone, a controversial opiate “replacement therapy” to Burlington’s heroine addicts, as they claim — “non-judgementally.” Yet, when it comes to evaluating other members of the community, who desire to help them in their mission to be their brother’s keeper… They couldn’t be more stringently and unfairly judgmental?

So the big question, for us is:

Who or what gives John and Leah Pence and these other ding-dongs from the Howard Center in Vermont the authority to dictate to their neighbors whom they are allowed to associate with, based on their own individual or collective values and belief systems?

The question they should be asking themselves is:

If Kevin Leland cares more about his relationships than his money, and if he sent a guy for a gurney ride with his footprint on his face because that man attempted to extort money from him, what’s he going to do to those people who lie, deceive and co-manipulate with intentions of destroying his highly valued friendships?

Kevin Leland’s answer:

Don’t worry about me literally kicking your asses -unless you get in my face … However, in the spirit of  “the pen is mightier than the sword” everyone involved in this debacle can plan on getting choke slammed, repeatedly (metaphorically) with honest, not-at-all embellished Internet posts like these, until they apologize to Peter, myself and our other friends, whose American civil liberties they have violated — and let us all get back to bowling and swimming, and just hanging out enjoying our friendship, unaccosted by their bullshit.

They can shove the “job” they offered us, and then rescinded, straight up their asses. As poor and under-employed as we are, unlike you people, we don’t need The Howard Center to pay us to be a friend to someone.

To contact me privately (esp. VT ACLU): klleland@gmail.com

Comments are appreciated, even when they are rude (like mine). I do not censor anyone, and will publish everyones comments as soon as I review them -as long as they are legal, and not spam.

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One response to “Howard Center: Violating Civil Liberties of Vermonters

  1. Pingback: Princess Leah and the Blind Saint | Bangari Content Gallery

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