Mom accuses school of expelling her non-verbal autistic son due to his race

By Christine Long, Adam Kovac, CTV Montreal

MONTREAL — A Quebec mother is accusing a school of expelling her autistic son because of the colour of his skin.

Marie Isme said her 16-year-old son Brandon-Lee Paris, who is non-verbal, has attended Deux Montagne's L'ecole des erables du centre de services scolaire de la Seignerie-des-Milles-Illes for years. The school said they could no longer accommodate him after he developed an obsession with cutting his fingertips and ran away from the school once. But Isme said that's not the truth.

“I feel that my son has been discriminated against because of his height, his race,” she said. “They are scared of him.”

Isme said her son's behaviour is no more extreme than other students. She has filed a complaint on the matter with the Quebec Humans Rights and Youth Rights Commission.

Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations executive director Fo Niemi said the school has failed to respect its mandate.

“Under the Quebec Education Act, all young people under 18 have the right to public education and all disabled youth under 21 have the right to public education,” he said. “Brandon hasn't had schooling since late 2018.”

School official did not respond to CTV News' calls and e-mails.

Child psychatrist Pascale Gregoire, who evaluated Paris, said he is teachable.

“It's serious, the doctor said over and over, he needs to be stimulated, thats why they have programs for the development for those kids,” said Isme. “It's really important for development. We heard Black Lives Matter, what about Black autistic lives matter? Especially kids.”

Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge said he was aware of the matter and the system “has a duty to never give up on a kid.”

“We have a lot of ways to help the families, the kids, the students. We will continue our discussion with the school service centre, to find some new way. We don't want to let him down.” 


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