Parents Take Legal Action After Quebec Teacher Allegedly Put His Students’ Art For Sale Online

A pair of Quebec parents are taking legal action after their children’s art teacher allegedly put their children’s art up for sale online without their knowledge.

The parents sent a letter through a sheriff on Tuesday to their children’s teacher, Mario Perron, and the Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB) demanding $350,000 in moral and punitive damages for alleged intellectual property violations. Their demands also include a formal apology and that the art be removed from the teacher’s website.

Last Thursday, CTV News reported that students at Westwood Junior High School in the Montreal suburb of Saint-Lazare learned their art was posted online when they searched their teacher’s name on Google.

The story has gained international attention and has made news headlines in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Days after first learning that the art had appeared online, some of the parents involved decided to take action.

“The items, priced between $30 and $120, were used without the consent of their creators, in bad faith and in violation of all laws related to an artist’s intellectual property. Nothing authorized Mr. Perron to appropriate the work of their students. for personal gain. This act is even more egregious as it stems from the use of material created by students in a school environment, under authority, and sold with impunity at high prices,” their demand letter alleged.

The legal notice was sent on behalf of parents Joel DeBellefeuille and Edith Liard and was addressed to the president and commissioner of the LBPSB. Liard felt she had no choice but to involve attorneys because she said the school board had left her in the dark about her entire ordeal.

“I wish the school would have reached out and said, ‘Listen, we just found out what happened and we’re sorry. And we’ll keep you informed with an investigation or something,’ and nothing. And the teacher didn’t even remove the art. So, to me, that’s not acceptable,” Liard said in an interview Tuesday.

“[The teacher’s] without extending your hand. She’s not going to take down the art. The school is not reaching out to us. Nobody lets us know what is happening. So no, I think legal action is necessary. That’s why I do it.”

Darren Becker, a spokesperson for the school board, confirmed in an email to CTV News that it received the letter and that it “was subsequently forwarded to the school board’s insurance company, so we have nothing further to add at this time.” .

The school board said in an email last week that it had opened an administrative investigation into the incident and is “taking these allegations very seriously.”

The parents have threatened to take the matter to court if the teacher and the board do not pay them the requested compensation and comply with other demands within five days.

Last week, DeBellefeuille told CTV News that he was surprised when his 13-year-old son came home from school last week and told him that he had found a portrait that another student had painted of him in class and that had been posted on line with a price tag of $151.

That drawing, along with those of several other students, appeared on several items for sale, including coffee mugs, T-shirts, yoga mats and iPhone cases. On Tuesday afternoon, the students’ art was still visible on the professor’s website, but by the afternoon it appeared to have been removed.

Perron’s LinkedIn and Facebook accounts were also not accessible Tuesday night.

Several attempts to locate the professor last week failed. He did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday afternoon.

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