Island mother suing on behalf of son after years of alleged bullying at school
Mother claims school officials responsible for son's 'severe injury and mental anguish'
An Island mother is suing P.E.I.'s French Language School Board, alleging it failed to stop years of bullying against her son, who has autism.
In the statement of claim filed in P.E.I. Supreme Court, Rose-Lune Goulet alleges some staff at École François-Buote in Charlottetown "created a disrespectful and unsafe environment for Kayson that resulted in his severe injury and mental anguish, injuries which were foreseeable."
In addition to the school board and the school, the lawsuit names the school's principal, four "instructional personnel" and two minor students.
According to the lawsuit, the bullying against Kayson started in late 2014, when he was in Grade 3. The suit alleges students would verbally abuse and physically assault him and take his belongings.
Autism awareness presentation
The suit claims that while Goulet raised concerns with school officials, "no action was taken" and the "incidents of bullying continued to occur, with the frequency and severity of these incidents increasing."
"I was always there for meetings, I was always calling and sending emails, reporting the incidents that happened to Kayson. And nothing was done," said Goulet.
Goulet alleges that for years, she regularly pushed for Kayson's classmates to be given an autism awareness presentation.
She claims that awareness session finally happened in March 2018. However she alleges in the lawsuit that presentation only took place after Kayson was pushed by another student outside the school and ended up with a broken leg requiring surgery.
The suit claims that since that incident, Kayson has suffered from extreme anxiety, low self-esteem, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Goulet is seeking $250,000 in damages, plus other amounts yet to be determined.
"I tried all the nice ways.… It's very unfortunate it's going this far. But I do believe this lawsuit was my last option. What my son went through was not OK," Goulet said.
"I just don't want to see it happen to anybody else. It's very important that they become accountable for what took place."
'We are always on the lookout for bullying'
None of the allegations in the lawsuit have been proven in court.
The statements of defence have not yet been filed.
Speaking to Radio-Canada Thursday, Gilles Benoit, chair of the French Language School Board, said while he can't comment on this specific case, "these are situations that we must manage. We are also aware of this and we are always on the lookout for bullying in our schools."