Ottawa, Ontario — A nine-year-old child with autism was reportedly handcuffed by police at the St. Jerome Catholic School in Ottawa after he allegedly turned violent and started throwing chairs.
Parents of Daniel Ten Oever said a female police officer handcuffed their son in an effort to restrain him after school officials said Daniel started throwing chairs inside the principal’s office in St. Jerome.
Daniel’s parents were outraged by the alleged handcuffing of their son, but School Supt. Mary Donaghy insists that the school staff “acted appropriately to ensure the safety of everyone involved.”
Local authorities confirmed that an officer was called to respond at St. Jerome school, but gave no further details on the incident. Ottawa Police Spokesman Marc Sousy affirmed, however, that police officers can handcuff anyone who would pose a danger to themselves, to the people around them, or to police officers. He also added that Ottawa Police will launch an investigation if charges are filed against the police involved in the incident.
Meanwhile, Stephanie Hock, Daniel’s mother, will be taking legal actions to fight for her son’s rights. Hock said she is seeking legal advice before she finishes filing a police complaint, and that she also intends to sit down and talk once more with St. Jerome school officials. She told:
“I want to make sure I have everything I need together before anything happens. We’ve been told to seek legal advice before we start anything formal, including from the autism community.”
Hock said her son was shaken following the incident at St. Jerome. She told:
“He keeps asking me if he’s done something wrong and if being handcuffed is a part of life. But I keep telling him that he’s not bad and that it’s not a part of life.”
She hopes for some changes after what happened to her son. She said:
“The story needed to be told to raise awareness. Obviously something needs to be done within the education system and with the police.”
Contributed by Althea Estrella Violeta
Sources:Dani-Elle Dube on the Canoe.ca website: Mom of autistic boy who was handcuffed at Ottawa school wants changes
CBC News Ottawa:Daniel Ten Oever, boy with autism, put in handcuffs for throwing chairs