Police called to Waterloo region Catholic school to assist with 4-year-old student 'in crisis'
A family in Ontario's Waterloo region is calling for the director of education at the Waterloo Catholic District School Board to resign after police were called to a school in November concerning their four-year-old child.
The Waterloo Regional Police Service confirmed to CTV News officers received a call in November 2021 from a school principal regarding a student in crisis, who was said to be acting violently.
Several groups met on Wednesday to discuss the incident, included the child’s family, board administration, Nigerians in the Region of Waterloo (NIROW), and provincial advocacy groups Parents of Black Children and the Early Childhood Development Initiative.
Following the meeting, Fidelia Ukueje, the president of NIROW, said the family is devastated by the incident.
“[The] mom is traumatized. [The] mom is heartbroken,” said Ukueje, speaking to reporters outside of the WCDSB headquarters in Kitchener on Wednesday. “Not only has the school failed the boy, it has failed the mom because mom clearly showed up there that she has questioned herself, time and time again, and felt that she was a failure.”
Ukueje, speaking on behalf of the child’s family, said they want to see a full investigation to determine what led the board to call police to manage a four-year-old child.
“Accountability needs to be taken,” said Ukueje. “An investigation needs to be done and everyone who played a part in this case needs to be brought to the book.”
Police declined to comment on camera, but a statement emailed to CTV News said in part:
“We were called by the principal of a school regarding a student in crisis, who was said to be acting violently. This call came in on Nov. 29, 2021 at 10:49 a.m. The student was placed in a safe and secure room at the school while police were en route.”
“Police arrived and immediately began to work with the student in attempts to de-escalate the behaviour,” the statement continued. “Officers were able to locate a family member after school officials advised they were unable to locate the student’s parents. Police drove the student home to be cared for by this family member. Police were later able to speak to the student’s parents about the incident.”
Ukueje says they’re unsatisfied with the explanation from the board as to what led to police being called in November.
“In their own language, he was just too active, they could not contain him,” said Ukueje.
The school board also declined to comment on camera, but in a statement emailed to CTV News, said the safety and wellbeing of students and staff is its top priority.
“In circumstances where students are struggling, all available resources are employed to ensure all opportunities for success are offered to the students and their families,” the statement read. “This process often involves a series of meetings with the family involved. Those resources and supports have been provided on an ongoing basis by the school, throughout this school year.”
“An initial meeting between school board staff and the family involved in this instance was scheduled for late [Wednesday] morning. The meeting is a private meeting between the family and school board staff – not a meeting of the Board of Trustees,” the statement continued. “As always, legislation protecting the personal privacy of individuals prevents the school board from discussing any details of the issues involving the student or any of the allegations made by the family.”
In addition to an investigation, following the private meetings, advocates called for the board’s director of education – Loretta Notten – to resign.