Quebec teacher allegedly lists students’ art for sale on his website; parents take legal action

“He used their face,” says Edith Liard as her daughter's school art project was posted online for sale without consent, allegedly by her art teacher. She’s taking legal action against the Montreal-area teacher and school board. Swidda Rassy reports.

By News Staff

An art teacher in Quebec allegedly listed his students’ art for sale online without their knowledge or consent, and now parents are taking legal action against him and the school board.

The parents – Joel DeBellefeuille and Edith Liard – sent a letter though a bailiff to teacher Mario Perron and the Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB) on Tuesday.

They are demanding $350,000 for alleged breach of the copyright act and as compensation for moral and punitive damages.

“This situation is unprecedented in our judicial system and cannot be tolerated,” the letter reads. “It is currently widely publicized, and our clients do not exclude the possibility of filing criminal charges against Mr. Perron.”

The legal notice was addressed to Perron, the LBPSB chair and its commissioner.

The LBPSB confirmed to CityNews it received the legal notice on Tuesday, which it then sent to the school board’s insurance company. The LBPSB said it was “taking these allegations very seriously.”

The letter claims it all stems from a discovery made by the students of Westwood Junior High on Feb. 8, when they allegedly found work created by students for sale on the teacher’s website.

Montreal’s Westwood Junior High on Feb. 14, 2024. (Martin Daigle, CityNews)

“The items, priced between 30USD and 120USD, were used without the consent of their creators, in bad faith, and in violation of all laws related to the intellectual property of an artist,” the letter continues. “Nothing authorized Mr. Perron to appropriate the work of his students for personal gains.

“This act is even more egregious as it stems from the use of material created by students in a school setting, under authority, and sold with impunity at high prices.”

The notice says it’s including the LBPSB in its legal action because “it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that teachers are evaluated, and their backgrounds, social media profiles, etc., are checked before hiring. In this situation, it is evident that the trust of the public, the students, the parents, and specifically our clients, in the schoolboard and its representatives, has been severely shaken.

“It is also surprising to see that despite all the mediatic attention received by this situation, you have not taken a stance, sanctioned Mr. Perron, demanded the removal of the artworks online, and informed parents of the measures that will be taken in the coming days. Such a complacent attitude is unacceptable and reflects a certain disregard for the intellectual property of the students in your school, as well as a lack of understanding of the applicable laws.”

Lester B Pearson School Board head office, Feb. 14, 2024. (Martin Daigle, CityNews)

The parents are asking that Perron withdraw all artworks in question from websites, social networks or other platforms. They want the school board to suspend Perron from teaching their children’s class either temporarily or permanently.

CityNews Montreal reached out to Mario Perron for comment but did not hear back.

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