Debbie Kiroff, mother to an eight-year-old son with behavioral issues, has spoken about the treatment her son received from Holland Landing Public School and Southlake Regional Health Centre.
Her son had an argument with another classmate about using the computer. Staff at the school contacted Kiroff, who was in the middle of her work shift at the time, requesting that she come and pick up her son on account of his behavior. The principal told Kiroff that her son had a ruler and was climbing on several things inside the classroom.
Kiroff informed the school that her son often dealt with problems by running away. Though, when Kiroff’s son ran out of the classroom, staff had called the police.
When contacted by CBC for an interview, spokesperson Licinio Miguelo said, “In any situation where a child’s safety may be at risk, we have a duty to report and immediately contact the police. We undertake every effort to ensure that our students are in an environment that is safe and welcoming for all.”
Unable to leave work, Kiroff called her daughter to pick up the boy instead. When her daughter got there, she phoned Kiroff to tell her that her son had been placed in a police car and taken to a hospital on account of his anger.
When Kiroff arrived at Southlake Regional Health Centre, hospital staff told her that he was out of control and needed to be restrained and given a sedative.
According to hospital staff, the administration of a sedative doesn’t require parental consent in an emergency situation.
In 2015, Southlake Regional Health Centre was listed as a Best Practice Spotlight Organization pre-designate. Among the included practices are alternative solutions to the use of restraints, based on each case. The practices outline using restraints as a last resort, which is a policy the hospital supported in their statement to the press.
“In extreme situations where there is an imminent risk or threat to a patient and our staff, based on a medical assessment by a physician, we use restraints as a short-term intervention to protect a patient. Restraints can include a sedative and/or restraining hands and feet,” they said. They added that an assessment is made to determine when the restraints are removed.
Kiroff told CBC that her son asked for the restraints to be removed, remarking that they were too tight. “How do you do that to my eight-year-old son? To me, he’s an injured child,” she said.
Kiroff’s son is currently on the waiting list for schools catering to children with mental health concerns such as Blue Hills Child and Family Centre and The York Centre. Though, the waiting lists could keep him there for up to a year.
She told the press that she wants to bring more awareness to those placed on waiting lists, urging to bring the number of waiting lists down in order to accommodate those who need help now.
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