Parents demand Ottawa school records of autistic boy who was handcuffed
Published Wednesday, March 18, 2015 6:04AM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, March 18, 2015 3:55PM EDT
The parents of a nine-year-old autistic boy who was handcuffed at his Ottawa school say he will not return to the classroom until all records pertaining to his care are handed over.
Stephanie Huck, mother of Daniel Ten Oever, told reporters Wednesday that the family will not be engaging in any discussions or negotiations with her son's school or the Ottawa Catholic School Board until they are given all of the records concerning his "care and control."
"No discussions, no negotiations until we know exactly what happened to our son," she said. "Only then can we make an informed decision about what the next steps for Daniel will be."
The boy's parents were called to St. Jerome Catholic School last month after being told he had been acting out.
They arrived at the school to find officers had been called, and were told that their son had to be restrained. They later found out that officers used handcuffs on him after he had been apparently throwing chairs.
At the time, the school board defended its actions in a brief statement, which said that "staff acted appropriately to ensure the safety of everyone involved."
Ten Oever has not returned to school since that day.
Since the incident, the boy's family has been working with the advocacy group Restoring Dignity.
The group's CEO, Roch Longueépée, said Wednesday that the family initially had no intention of involving lawyers or filing a legal complaint.
However, the school board responded by sending its own lawyer, who threatened to sue Longueépée on allegations of making defamatory comments, he said.
"This is a terrible response and only serves to frustrate and prolong Daniel's safe return to school," he said, noting that Restoring Dignity has since helped the family retain legal counsel.
While the family does not blame police for handcuffing their son, the use of police services in these types of cases must be examined, he added.
He said other advocacy groups have found that police are often called to help, when staff members are unable to de-escalate a situation with a special needs child.
"The question remains, was it appropriate for the school to involve the police?" he asked.
Longueépée said Restoring Dignity does not believe that this is an isolated incident, and is asking any other families who've had similar experiences to contact the organization.