Montreal

Teen with autism upset after being transferred to a new school — without her knowledge

Trinity Terra Walker, a 15-year-old who has autism, started school on Tuesday. But when she arrived at Laval Junior Academy, she was told she wasn't supposed to be there.

15-year-old Trinity Terra Walker was in a special program at Laval Junior Academy

Trinity Terra Walker, 15, and her mother Terrie Ramsay say they want an apology for the way Trinity was treated. (Simon Nakonechny/CBC)

On Tuesday, 15-year-old Trinity Terra Walker was headed back to Laval Junior Academy for her third year in a special program.

Trinity, who lives in Deux-Montagnes, Que., with her mother, has autism.

When she arrived at school, she set out to check where her new homeroom would be. But she was intercepted by the vice-principal, she said, and told she wasn't supposed to be at the school.

"I remember being shocked because I was really confused," said Walker.

"If I was not high functioning, I'm pretty sure I would have freaked out."

She started feeling anxious, went to the guidance counsellor's office and called her mother, Terrie Ramsay.

Ramsay called the school for an explanation and says the vice-principal eventually told her the decision had been made to move Trinity to Laval Senior Academy instead. The family was never notified.

Ramsay said she was told the vice-principal, along with other administrators, decided to enrol her elsewhere because Trinity was not doing well in school.

"That is not the structured way that is supposed to happen," Ramsay said.

Ramsay said she was stunned. The week before, she had received a welcome letter from Laval Junior Academy via email. Nothing was out of the ordinary. Even Trinity's transport van driver hadn't heard about the change.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board apologized, said it worked quickly to resolve the situation, and is reviewing its processes to make this kind of situation doesn't happen again.

Trinity was enrolled in a program at Laval Junior Academy that helped bolster students' knowledge of the material taught in grades 5 through 8. (Simon Nakonechny/CBC)

Ramsay said she wants to hear from the school's vice-principal, whom she blames for the mix-up.

"As a special needs mother, you know how it is out there. My daughter needs an apology. I need an apology."

Trinity will start class on Monday, a week late, at a different school closer to home. She said she anticipates she will nervous about the change, as her first day draws nearer.

with files from Simon Nakonechny