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Sunday, May 07, 2017

Student Kidnapped By volunteer at Toronto School by VIA Children's Aid

A Scarborough mother says her family was put through a terrifying afternoon after her six-year-old son was mistakenly pulled out of school and taken by the Children’s Aid Society for almost three hours Tuesday.

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The woman, who CityNews has decided not to identify in order to protect the identity of the other child, said she was first alerted that something was wrong when she got an automated call from Walter Perry Public School informing her that her son was not in class.
“I called and I asked, ‘How is my son absent when I dropped him from school this morning?’” the mother said Wednesday.
The woman says she was then told by a staff member the boy’s grandmother had picked him up from school around noon. A quick check with the boy’s grandmother proved that was not the case.
“I nearly fainted four times,” she said. “That’s when I started to make my walk down to the school.”
An hour later, the woman said staff explained that her son was accidentally taken out of school due to a case of mistaken identity. A volunteer driver for Children’s Aid allegedly came to the school and asked to pick up a child using his first-name only. Two children go to Walter Perry Public School with that name. Someone in the school assumed it the woman’s son and pulled him from class. The boy was reportedly told by staff that his grandmother had come to take him home.
“He went and once he seen that (it wasn’t her), he stated, ‘That’s not my grandmother.’ He said that’s when the volunteer driver took him by the arms and brought him to the car and roughly placed him inside the vehicle,” she said.
The mother says it wasn’t until the boy arrived at the Children’s Aid Society offices and another mother commented they have the wrong boy that he was returned to the school.
“He arrived maybe 15 minutes to 3 p.m., and he was like, ‘Mom, a stranger took me,’” she said. “And I cried.”
The Children’s Aid Society did not return CityNews’ request for comment on their pickup protocol.

The Toronto District School Board says an investigation is underway and a school staff member has been sent home until the investigation is complete.
“It would appear to be a horrible case of mistaken identity,” TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird said. “This should never have happened.”
The boy’s mother says in total, she went through about an hour of not knowing her son’s location and who had taken him.
“It felt like I failed my son because no matter what, I feel like it’s my responsibility to keep him safe,” she said.
A superintendent has since called the boy’s mother to apologize and offer services to help the boy feel secure in school.
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Ontario debating school bus cameras to catch drivers who illegally pass stopped buses

Local politicians and school bus companies have called on the provincial government to pass legislation to use cameras on school buses to ticket drivers who pass illegally.

Ontario legislators are debating the idea of using cameras on school buses to ticket drivers that illegally blow past the vehicles as children get on and off, but the government isn’t ready to commit to the measure without further study.
Local politicians and school bus companies have called on the provincial government to pass legislation that will enable video from cameras mounted on the outside of school buses to be admitted as evidence in court without a witness to back up the footage, as is currently the requirement.
Such a change in law could mean that the owners of vehicles that illegally pass school buses get tickets in the mail after being caught on camera.
But Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca said while the Liberal government is supportive of the idea, it isn’t ready to pass legislation on it without further consideration.
The government has some concerns about the details of the technology involved and the legislative change it would require, he said.
“We’re going to make sure we get it right,” Del Duca said. “Moving forward with technology that doesn’t actually provide you with the outcome you’re looking for doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.”
Several jurisdictions in the U.S., including in Texas and Virginia, already use school bus cameras to ticket drivers.
A pilot project also tested the technology this spring in Brantford, Mississauga, Sudbury and Kitchener-Waterloo. It was conducted by a company that makes the cameras, along with municipalities, school boards and police forces in the communities.
The project found drivers illegally passed school buses that stopped to let children on or off — with their lights flashing and stop-arm out — in all those communities.
In rural Brantford, there was one blow-by per bus every three days, but in Mississauga, the problem was the worst — occurring an average of two-and-a-half times per bus per day.
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said the province needs to deal with the issue.
“We must take action to reduce these incidences and increase safety for our children,” she said in a statement. “We cannot wait for serious injury or a fatality before we act.”
In the Waterloo area, where the pilot project found 500 to 700 illegal blow-bys of local school buses each week, bus drivers have serious concerns about the issue, said Keith Prudham, the safety and information supervisor for the Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region.
Prudham said police can’t follow every bus to fine people, so camera-based tickets would help.
“Once people start to get hit with violations and fines the word gets out that this is a costly move on your part, not to mention how unsafe it is for children on the road,” he said.
Currently, even with video of drivers illegally passing school buses, fines often aren’t laid because the footage can’t be considered evidence in court without a witness.
One retired bus driver said a witness can be difficult to come by because it’s hard for a bus driver to take down the license plate of a vehicle that whizzes past a school bus while still watching students going and coming from the vehicle.
“I can honestly say I’ve witnessed some really close calls by blow-bys,” said Leo Heuvelmans, who came to the Ontario Legislature this week to speak about the issue.
To tackle the problem, the Progressive Conservatives proposed a private member’s bill modelled after legislation for red-light cameras, which would allow tickets to be issued through the mail to owners of vehicles that fail to stop for a school bus.
The party sought to add its bill into the Liberal government’s Safer School Zones Act as an amendment, which would have given it greater certainty of becoming law.
The government act, which is making its way through the legislature, will allow municipalities to use automated speed enforcement systems — better known as photo radar — in school zones and community safety zones, allowing speeding vehicles to be ticketed by mail, without a police officer present. It is expected to pass into law soon.
The Liberals, however, blocked the PC attempt to add the school bus cameras bill as an amendment, and accused the party of trying to delay the government’s school safety legislation and putting people’s lives at risk in the process.
In response, PC Transportation Critic Michael Harris said it was Liberals who were playing games with children’s lives.
Del Duca said ministry staffers will be able to pursue the bus camera issue once the Safer School Zones Act is passed.
Harris said he plans to try one more time to convince the government to address the issue through its school safety legislation at a committee meeting on Monday.
The current fine for passing a stopped school bus is $490, plus six demerit points.
Toronto Star
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Canadians continue to battle floodwaters from coast to coast

Across the country, thousands of Canadians are spending the weekend in a desperate struggle with rising floodwaters caused by unusually persistent rainfall.
Floodwaters in Quebec are expected to peak today due to continued rain in most of the affected areas.
In total, nearly 1,900 homes are flooded in 126 municipalities. More than a thousand residents were evacuated and more than 400 roads are affected.
The Canadian Armed Forces today says it will double its staff to help flood victims in Quebec. More than 400 army personnel were deployed to the western and central part of the province Saturday as high water threatened hundreds of residences, including some in the Montreal area.
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre says the city has 30 Canadian Forces personnel helping firefighters and other emergency responders with the flood response.
The town of Rigaud near Montreal has been the most affected and a state of emergency was declared Sunday.
The mayor also issued a mandatory evacuation order to residents in flooded areas.
In Atlantic Canada, New Brunswick has taken the hardest hit with 100 millimetres of rain falling in some areas in just two days – and Environment Canada warns there’s more to come today.
In British Columbia, rain combined with warm temperatures have accelerated the melting of the snowpack, which has resulted in flooding and mudslides throughout the province.
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One man in life-threatening condition after multi-vehicle crash in Toronto’s east end

Toronto police and EMS are on the scene in the area of King and River following a multi-vehicle collision that sent four people to the hospital, one in life threatening condition early Saturday.
It happened shortly before 6:30am on Queen Street East above the DVP.
Toronto Traffic Services said a man in his 30s was found pinned under a vehicle but it is unclear whether he was a pedestrian or was thrown from a vehicle involved.
The remaining three victims have minor injuries. Police have closed down Queen Street East in that area in both directions for the investigation.
The 501 Queen and 504 King streetcars are on diversion.
Global News
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