The mother of a student at a Toronto school is up in arms this week after her son was taken in the back of a police car to a local hospital–and sedated–for acting out on the first day of class.
Yahoo News reports that Debbie Kiroff said her 8-year-old son has struggled with learning disabilities throughout his life and is, generally speaking, rambunctious. However, this is nothing that a trained education professional couldn’t handle. She mentioned that he loves cooking and playing with Legos. Thus, when the school principal called her to note that his behavior was “escalating,” she was unsurprised.
“They know he’s a runner,” she told CBC Toronto. “When I first brought him to the school, I said to them, ‘He likes to run. That’s his release.'”
She noted he likes to run to a certain spot by the frog pond near the school.
But on Sept. 5, Kiroff’s son got into a tiff with another student over the use of a computer.
“He’s running around right now, he’s got a ruler, he’s climbing this, climbing that,” Kiroff says the principal told her, asking her to come pick her son up.
Kiroff works for the Canada Post and had a hefty supply of boxes to unload before she was free, so she sent her daughter, along with her newborn baby, to the school. But things had already escalated beyond the family’s control.
“Mom, they’ve already got him in the police car. They’re taking him to the hospital because he’s too angry,” she says her daughter told her on the phone.
Kiroff’s son was taken to Southlake Regional Health Center. She says she had to wait 15 to 20 minutes before being allowed inside.
“Then the lady comes out and says, ‘I just want to talk to you before we go in … Did you hear your son screaming? He was out of control. The whole hospital could hear him.”
“‘I just wanted to let you know that we had to restrain him … and also inject him with a sedative,'” Kiroff says a staff member told her.
Kiroff couldn’t believe her ears.
“Oh, you don’t need my consent for that?”
She says she was told the hospital didn’t need parental consent, as long as there was an extreme concern for safety.
Hospital staff said restraints are only used in extreme situations.
“No one wants to use restraints; it is a last measure and is done only in dire situations deemed an ’emergency.’ In an ’emergency’ situation, our concern for our patient determines how long a restraint is used,” the hospital said in a statement.
The poor 8-year-old was worse for wear.
“As soon as I saw him, I could tell by his eyes that he’d been through a big ordeal. I’ve never seen that look in his eyes before.”
“‘I don’t feel that good; I feel a little weird,'” she says her son told her.
“The restraints were pretty tight. He was telling me, “‘Please, mommy. Get them off. They’re too tight,'” recalled the exasperated mom.
The York Region District School Board would not discuss Kiroff’s son’s case, citing students’ privacy, but said the board’s primary focus is “always student safety.”
“In any situation where a child’s safety may be at risk, we have a duty to report and immediately contact the police. We undertake every effort to ensure that our students are in an environment that is safe and welcoming for all.”
The school says safety is always paramount.
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