Second family speaks out against Montreal school’s seclusion room

"They need better," says Barbara Chery, a second Montreal mother speaking out about the use of seclusion rooms in schools, after her 13-year-old son, diagnosed with autism, was placed in one multiple times. Felisha Adam reports.

By Felisha Adam

Barbara Chery says her 13-year-old son Darren, who is autistic, was placed in a seclusion room while at school — resulting in what she explains as self-inflicted injuries.

“Many times they put it Darren inside there. They put it like it’s in a prison.”

Chery is the second parent from Parkdale Elementary School to speak out about the use of seclusion rooms.

Earlier, CityNews brought you the story of a Montreal Family and their ten-year-old son, Gani Zholtayeva, diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, who was placed in a seclusion room at the same school.

Darren and Barbara Chery. (Photo Credit: Felisha Adam, CityNews)

“They have dirty mats on the floor some random bean bags that were awful dirty,” explained Darren. “When I don’t want to go in the room, they just grabbed my hand and just drag me in.”

Darren was diagnosed with autism at five-years-old. He’s been placed into a seclusion room multiple times, something Barbara was never made aware of by the school.

“When you are reading the agenda or don’t have a good they sort of let me down and come back and say, ‘Mum, I’ve been sat in this room’,” said Barbara. “They are supposed to let me know what is going on then not they don’t tell me nothing.”

Barbara says when she would inquire about the use of seclusion rooms, her concerns were brushed off.

In one incident, Darren urinated on himself after being in the room for multiple hours – in his agenda, teachers wrote that Darren had an accident but no other information was provided.

“They ignore me. They never told me they locked him in there to sleep,” said Barbara.

Darren and Barbara Chery. (Photo Credit: Felisha Adam, CityNews)

Darren adding, “They just push me in my room, put me in that room, and just and they use their whole body to like barricade the whole door.”

On another occasion, Darren used a blanket in the room to choke himself.

“I was very upset and I, I find a blanket and I try to use a blanket and I firmer around my neck and, and could take years to kill myself,” he explained. “Because I was tired of it. And I know. And they would treat their time abusing me. So I wanted it to stop.”

“They don’t tell me nothing,” added Barbara. “I said, ‘Why he wants to kill himself?’ They don’t have an answer.”

When asked for a response, the English Montreal School Board provided the same statement given previously when we spoke to the family of Gani Zholtayeva on April 4th – saying “The rooms are a “safe and comfortable area for a student. These rooms are never used as a means for punishment, but rather a calm space.”

Darren and Barbara Chery. (Photo Credit: Felisha Adam, CityNews)

Parkdale Elementary has not gotten back to our request for a statement.

Darren was expelled from Parkdale and now goes to another school, but Barabara says something must be done

“I send him to school to learn not to be abused.”

Both Barbara Cherry and Yana Polyakova with the help of CRARR will file complaints with the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission.

“They need better. They need to understand them. They care about them. The normal, like regular kids, there’s just one people love them and respect them.”

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