A teacher acquitted of having struck a child with autism

News 22 December, 2017
  • Michael Nguyen

    Thursday, December 21, 2017 11:35

    On Thursday 21 December 2017 21:38

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    A teacher who admitted to having struck an autistic child of 8 years during their physical education classes has been acquitted, since he had used “reasonable force” to correct it.

    “Considering all the circumstances, it acted for a legitimate purpose and in a reasonable way “, ruled the judge Joëlle Roy, Thursday at the palais de justice of Montreal.

    José Daniel Martinez, 45, was facing a charge of assault, for an event that was held in April 2016 in Montreal. The name of the school and the district have not been mentioned in the judgment.

    Unruly child

    On this day, Martinez was teaching a group of students, but there was in the regular classroom to a child affected by the disorder of autism, which was turning round and round on itself so that he was lying on the ground.

    This is where the versions diverge. According to another student, the teacher gave a kick at the victim laid on the ground.

    “He [the accused] would have then grabbed him by the shoulders to lift and the back to sit down, then he would have “yelled” ” tells the story of the magistrate.

    Martinez, for his part, has rather claimed to have ” stamped his foot on the torso in order to stop it from turning and preventing to that it is ressaisisse “. It would have then taken the child under the shoulders and out of the gym, but it was turbulent.

    Reasonable Force

    In her defense, the teacher had relied on a specific article of the criminal Code allowing the use of force on children in specific situations.

    “Any teacher […] is justified in using force to correct a student […] if the force does not exceed what is reasonable in the circumstances “, as stipulated in article 43 of the criminal Code.

    The case of Martinez fell perfectly into this section of the Code, since the child has not suffered any injury and that the gesture was ” insignificant in order to impose a correction “.

    “The intention of the accused, at the time, wants to secure the group and the complainant, and to bring awareness to the complainant of his or her behavior,” notes the judge.


    She also noticed that the teacher has always wanted to help the autistic child in his / her integration in the class, despite ” numerous difficulties related to his immersion in a normal environment “.

    “The accused does not hide his dismay at the lack of school resources, lack of support from management, inadequate training and, at the limit, to the improvisation that these situations engender,” says the magistrate.

    Unless the Crown decides to appeal, Martinez has finished with the courts, he who has never been in trouble with the law in the past.