OTTAWA - The parents of an autistic boy who was restrained with handcuffs at an elementary school last month are not ruling out legal action as they seek full disclosure of documents regarding the child's care.
The parents of nine-year-old Daniel Ten Oever have publicly condemned the actions of school staff.
They and a representative of Restoring Dignity, a justice federation focused on creating public awareness on institutional child abuse, held a news conference on Wednesday to detail their complaints.
The boy's mother Stephanie Huck says her son has been out of school since the incident, suffering from extreme anxiety.
Roch Longueepee, founder of Restoring Dignity, says the family asked for documents from St. Jerome Catholic School and were met with threats from lawyers, despite telling the school legal action was not their intention.
He said the threats were inappropriate.
The family wants documents that detail the care Daniel received as well as the training of his caregivers. They say they want to be sure he will be safe upon his return to school.
"Our concern is not just for our son, but for all of the little Daniels out there," Huck said.
The incident unfolded after the boy was taken to the principal's office in an attempt to calm him privately after some violent behaviour. His agitation continued.
School officials say a police officer, visiting the vice-principal's office next door on an unrelated issue, heard the turmoil and entered the principal's office.
They say she restrained the boy, placing him in handcuffs. The principal then asked that the cuffs be removed.
Daniel tells a different story, saying the principal requested he be handcuffed and that the vice-principal asked that the cuffs be taken off.
Longueepee and Daniel's parents say they have no quarrel with the police, but question whether the school acted properly by involving the police.
Restoring Dignity is calling on families of special needs children to come forward with evidence of any mistreatment their children may have experienced in Ontario schools.
"We do not believe that this is an isolated incident," Longueepee said.
The group plans to seek a provincewide investigation into the treatment of special needs children.