Couple wants inquiry into treatment of special needs child
Online petition will seek “truth and justice”
It is with deepest regrets that our family is compelled to seek public support regarding the following grave situation. We have agonized over this approach for many months.
When truth and justice is deliberately being withheld and a child’s rights are being denied and violated on this scale, the decision to go public was a very difficult one to make, but justified.
We have been patient and respectful and relied upon a system that continues to profoundly fail our son. Agencies that we all rely upon when issues arise to investigate, will not.
Our son and family are not represented by a lawyer; we have no voice.
We are seeking help and support from Nunavummiut to help this child by signing our petition for an Inquiry. We urgently seek the truth and answers to many serious questions that remain unanswered and are left with few options.
We are the parents of a 14-year-old blind, non-verbal son, a registered beneficiary of Nunavut. Our son was attending the W. Ross MacDonald School for the Blind, located in Brantford, Ont. For a child to attend this school, the family must reside in Ontario.
Therefore, I, the father, and my two sons resided in Ottawa, Ont., while my wife and a third son remained in Iqaluit. Our son, along with other blind and visually impaired students, would fly from Ottawa to Brantford Ont. on Sunday evenings and remain in the school’s care, returning by air to my care in Ottawa on Friday afternoons. I would have him for the weekends.
On Friday, January 29, 2010 our son was returned to us by plane with severe injuries and burns that were unreported, undocumented and untreated. Injuries that were allowed to infect and fester and become severe without proper medical aid. There is a nursing station located in the school staffed by trained dedicated nurses, and there is no record of any incident brought to their attention.
I brought our son to the Appletree Medical clinic in Ottawa and the Ottawa Police and the school was contacted. The four agencies involved were the Brantford Police, Children’s Aid Society (CAS) Brant, Ottawa Police and CAS Ottawa.
Before the investigation began last year, the school was accusing me, the father inflicting those injuries. The school has denied all communication or any dialogue right from the beginning, and to this day remains silent.
School staff who were interviewed by the Brantford Police are adamant that no injuries or marks of any kind were on the child and never were there any burn incidents. All staff are adamant, all adhere to strictly documenting everything.
They claim our son was in a safe and caring environment. School staff claims that I, the father was responsible for causing those injuries upon the child’s return to Ottawa.
I was investigated and interviewed by both the Ottawa Police and CAS Ottawa and cleared. The medical evidence strongly supports our position. A dermatologist (an expert) supports the Appletree doctor’s professional medical opinion, that the injuries occurred in Brantford.
The Brantford Police investigation was inconclusive and no charges were laid and the file was closed pending further evidence. In fact, serious new evidence has surfaced that did warrant an immediate follow up.
These new documents were being deliberately concealed and withheld from us for almost one year where staff acknowledged in writing a burn incident occurred without details, and witnessed by another staff member. To this day, no one will approach these staff and simply ask how the burns occurred.
We also now have strong evidence that leads us to believe that our son was being severely mistreated in the weeks leading up to those injuries to the degree that it warranted immediate investigation. We will not go into any details concerning those documents here, except to state, that in our strong opinion, neglect, negligence and abuse did take place.
The information released to us was so serious that I decided to travel to Brantford Ont. in April 2011 to hand-deliver these documents to the Brantford Police Dept. and CAS Brant to have the investigation restarted. It never happened. A follow-up investigation should have begun immediately when both agencies became aware of these undisputed facts.
Responses by letter from CAS Brant have been confusing, contradictory and issued with reluctance. Last year we had agencies eager to charge me, the father. Now that the evidence is pointing back at the school, no one will step forward and take ownership or do anything.
We are and always have always been strong advocates for this prestigious school, which we struggled for our son to attend spanning several years. We believe that what has transpired here deals with a small circle of school staff members.
This incident should not overshadow or reflect the wonderful dedicated work being done elsewhere within the school with other students. Those services are crucial and essential. The school for the majority have dedicated staff and students that face challenges with courage, dignity, and class with success.
God bless each and every one of these boys and girls. Something has gone horrifically wrong with our son and we simply want answers.
We are now reaching out to Nunavummiut to help us reveal not just the partial truth but the whole truth. We believe the only way for this to happen is to have a thorough inquiry.
We have started a petition shortly to be hand-delivered to the Department of Education, Government of Ontario.
We respectfully ask Mary Simon and staff at Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. staff to also sign the petition.
Support from our Inuit organizations would be very welcomed and much appreciated. We seek only the truth. This innocent special needs child, a beneficiary, needs your help and support.
PLEASE SIGN OUR PETITION:
Our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul and Rebecca Salmonson
Email your letters to email@example.com.
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