Parents whose kids attend an elementary school north of Montreal are upset after learning that a staff member put tape over the mouths of several Grade 1 and 2 students for being too loud, including one who has autism.

"I was horrified. It's terrible. No parent wants to hear that," said Robyn Ridyard, whose seven-year-old autistic son came home Monday and told her what happened to him.

The incident happened at Joliette Elementary School, about 80 kilometres north of Montreal, during the lunch hour, according to the school's principal, Dan Tremblay.

In a letter sent to parents and obtained by CTV News, Tremblay said the lunch supervisor "joked" that if the students yelled, she would tape their mouths shut.

"The students began to yell, and the supervisor, as the students lined up to go outside, put the painter's tape on their faces," Tremblay said, adding that he intervened immediately.

"I want to be clear that children were asked if they wanted to participate and were allowed to refuse."

"Nevertheless, this activity is inappropriate, and there was and will be further intervention with the supervisor to ensure that an incident like this will never happen again at Joliette Elementary."

However, the parents who spoke to CTV say taping kids' mouths shut is anything but a joke and say that some children were not asked for permission before they had tape put over their mouths.


Ridyard said her nephew, who is in Grade 1, came home and told his mother the same thing happened to him as well.

"No, it's not a joke," said Monika Chavez, the boy's mother.

"My son told me. I was like, 'Did you want to do this?' He said, 'No, I didn't have a choice.' That's messed up."

Both parents say they're not happy with the school's response to the incident and are considering legal action.

"If I'm a principal, the first thing I'm going to say is, 'I'm so sorry, ma'am, that this has happened to your child.' There was no sorry," Chavez said.

When reached by phone Tuesday morning, Maxeen Jolin, communications coordinator with the Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board, reiterated that the "children thought it was funny" but at the same time said in an interview that the supervisor's behaviour was "very inappropriate."

Jolin confirmed the supervisor was not at school on Tuesday but said she couldn't divulge any information as to any consequences, if any, she would face.