Fondé en 1983 --Unis pour la diversité et l'égalité raciale


Montréal, February 2nd, 2021 – Desperate by the negligence and abandonment of her autistic child by the education system, a Black mother is calling on Quebec Education Minister Jean-François Roberge and the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission to act rapidly to help her 16-year-old autistic son.

Due to her son’s behavorial problems related to his condition, Marie Ismé’s child, Brandon- Lee, was expelled this week by the École des Érables of the Centre de services scolaire de la Seigneurie-des-Mille-îles, despite the fact that it specializes in providing services to youth from 5 to 21 years old on the autism spectrum and to those with average-to-severe intellectual disabilities.

Enrolled in the school for the past nine years, Brandon-Lee began to cut his fingertips in 2018, which led to his temporary suspension from school.
After three incidents and suspensions between January and March 2019, during which he stayed home without homeschooling measures, the school suspended Brandon-Lee, as it considered him a security risk. Between January 2019 and September 2020, the youth had a total of 9 hours of schooling. He was expelled on November 2020, and has since remained without schooling.

The law requires every child under 18 and every disabled person under 21 to receive public education.

Adding to the injustice, according to Ismé, white youth with similar behavioral problems receive better support than her son and are not threatened with expulsion.

“My son is a Black teenager who grew up fast and that makes some people afraid,” she said. “Instead of providing adapted care and accommodation, they chose the easy way out by giving him more drugs to calm him down and keep him in a semi-vegetative state, and then expel him.”

She sought CRARR’s help in filing a complaint with the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission in January 2020. After Brandon-Lee’s expulsion last November, CRARR added new elements to the complaint. However, the Commission is taking its time to handle the complaint, which has not moved further since its filing.

“Despite Brandon-Lee’s alarming situation, which involves violations of his right to education and full development, the Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission treats his case the same way that it would treat a non-disabled adult,” CRARR Executive Director Fo Niemi said.

“We can’t wait two or three years for the Commission to complete its investigation as we do with other cases. The life and the future of a youth are at play here. The Commission needs to be considerably more diligent and effective in the defense of the rights of children, especially disabled children,” Niemi added.

Ismé wrote Education Minister Laberge in December 2020 and again last month. Other than two telephone contacts with a department official, there has not been much action in response to the situation.

“Under the International Convention on the Rights of the Children, the superior interest of the child should be a primary consideration. The Quebec Government must act to ensure that Brandon-Lee has access to school and that he receives the adapted services he’s entitled to. No child can be deprived of access to care and education,” Niemi concluded.