Arts & Life
Canstar Community News
The Brandon School Division is reviewing an incident from last week after a student needing to go home was picked up by Child and Family Services rather than one of her emergency contacts.
An eight-year-old student at George Fitton School got a nosebleed on her first day back to school, according to her mom, who contacted the Sun on Tuesday.
She was given permission to clean up in a bathroom and said she didn’t feel well upon returning to class. The child's mother said the school’s principal was called and her daughter taken to the school’s isolation room as per COVID-19 policy.
The child was left inside the isolation room without instruction, she said, adding that her daughter relayed she was told by school staff to remain in the room. The mother described the isolation room as a closet with only a chair in it and a door with a small window in it.
The school then tried to reach the girl's mother to have her come pick up her daughter but unbeknownst to staff, she was attending a class at the Elspeth Reid Family Resource Centre and was required to turn off her phone.
When the mother finally got the three voice messages left for her and called the school, she said the principal told her what happened and that the mother couldn’t speak with her daughter because she was in the isolation room.
After calling a cab to take her to the school, the mother told the Sun that she called the school back and the principal informed her that Child and Family Services had been called when she hadn’t answered her phone earlier and they had since picked her up.
Later that day, she was able to co-ordinate with CFS and pick up her daughter, who was in tears. The mother said CFS later told her that they were called because they were listed as one of her daughter's emergency contacts.
She said that she had a CFS file last year because of a family situation but asserted that she had never listed them as a contact and she had updated her daughter's emergency contact list with a family member as a backup at the end of the last school year.
Even if the school had been unable to find a second emergency contact for the child in their files, her mother said they could have consulted the emergency contacts for her two siblings who also go to George Fitton.
She’d like the school division to review what happened to her family so it doesn’t happen to anyone else. Additionally, she’d like schools’ isolation rooms to have something to occupy kids while they’re waiting to be picked up so that they’re not left alone in a small room with nothing to do and for kids to be given a greater understanding of what being isolated means in case it happens to them.
"I want parents to tell their kids that they have an isolation room in this school and they’re gonna put you in there if you say you’re feeling sick, if you’re not well, they’re gonna put you in there until (they) find your parents," she said.
In response to a request for comment on the matter, Supt. Marc Casavant said in an emailed response the matter had been brought to the administration’s attention and was under review.
» Twitter: @ColinSlark
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Updated on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 at 1:09 PM CDT: The names of the mother and her child have been removed to abide by the Manitoba CFS Act, in case their file is still active.