In a police state, innocent 8-year-old boys with severe learning disabilities and diagnosed behavioral issues are not safe from the violent hand of the state’s enforcers. A mother has learned the hard way just how unsafe a child can be when the state gets involved after her 8-year-old son was kidnapped by police, put in restraints, and forcefully injected with a sedative after acting out on his first day of school.
Debbie Kiroff is now looking for answers after her son endured horrific abuse at the hands of those who claim to protect.
“They know he’s a runner,” she told CBC Toronto. “When I first brought him to the school, I said to them, ‘He likes to run. That’s his release.’”
Earlier this month, the principal at Holland Landing Public School called her to let her know her son’s behavior was “escalating.” However, she never expected what came next.
“He usually runs to the same spot near the little forest that they go to for day trips,” Kiroff said of the place her son runs to find his peace. This time, however, after he ran off, the police were called in.
According to Kiroff, she says it all began over an argument with another boy about who should be able to use a computer.
“He’s running around right now, he’s got a ruler, he’s climbing this, climbing that,” Kiroff says the principal told her, asking her to come pick her son up.
Kiroff, who works for the Canada Post, couldn’t leave work, so she sent her daughter to pick him up.
By the time she got to the school, however, it was too late. Cops had snatched him up after he allegedly tried to run off school property.
“Mom, they’ve already got him in the police car. They’re taking him to the hospital because he’s too angry,” she says her daughter told her on the phone.
When they got to the hospital, they saw a nightmare unfold.
“Then the lady comes out and says, ‘I just want to talk to you before we go in … Did you hear your son screaming? He was out of control. The whole hospital could hear him.
“‘I just wanted to let you know that we had to restrain him … and also inject him with a sedative,’” Kiroff says a staff member told her.
Kiroff says she was seething inside but simply asked, “Oh, you don’t need my consent for that?”
“As soon as I saw him, I could tell by his eyes that he’d been through a big ordeal. I’ve never seen that look in his eyes before.”
“‘I don’t feel that good; I feel a little weird,’” her son told her.
“The restraints were pretty tight. He was telling me, “‘Please, mommy. Get them off. They’re too tight.’”
According to the report by CBC:
She says she was told the hospital didn’t need parental consent, as long as there was an extreme concern for safety.
Hospital staff confirmed to CBC Toronto that restraints are used in “extreme situations” as a short-term intervention to protect a patient.
“No one wants to use restraints; it is a last measure and is done only in dire situations deemed an ’emergency.’ In an ’emergency’ situation, our concern for our patient determines how long a restraint is used,” the hospital said in a statement.
When Kiroff asked what her son did to warrant the restraints, she says she was told he was kicking, screaming and yelling — something she considers a tantrum, but hardly an emergency.
After her son had been kidnapped and force medicated, he was finally released from his torturous condition after spending more than 90 minutes strapped to a hospital bed.
As CBC reports:
The eight-year-old says he was told that if he calmed down, they would take the restraints off one at a time, but that they didn’t and ended up injecting him instead.
Kiroff says her son was in restraints for about an hour and a half before the doctor finally released him — he stumbled back to her car — and that he wasn’t allowed to return to school for about two weeks afterward.
The York Region District School Board said they would not discuss the case, claiming it was due to the student’s privacy. However, they did release a statement noting that the board’s primary focus is “always student safety.”
“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.
“When required, Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and Safety Plans to support a child’s achievement and well-being are developed in collaboration with the child’s family,” spokesperson Licinio Miguelo said.
According to CBC, Kiroff says her son is on a waiting list at Blue Hills Child and Family Centre, Kinark Child and Family Services and The York Centre, but that wait will likely be a year long. In the meantime, she says, she has contacted her MPP and hopes that by sharing her son’s story, more will be done to help children struggling with behavioral and mental illness.
“We need less wait-lists, because an eight-year-old needs the help now. A year from now, there’s so much more damage that could be done … Are we going to be looking at more incidents like this? Or on the worst extreme, him actually hurting himself?” she said.
Although her son was allowed to return to school, she says he is permanently affected by the experience — as would be any eight-year-old who was kidnapped by cops, strapped to a bed and forcefully injected with mind-altering drugs.
“He’s hesitant … he never wants to be back at the hospital,” she said, questioning how her son’s first day of school turned into a living nightmare.
“How do you do that to my eight-year-old son? To me, he’s an injured child,” she said.