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Canadian art teacher is accused of running ‘sweatshop of children’ to produce art at school he then sold for $100-a-piece online without their permission


  • Montreal-area Westwood Junior High School art teacher Mario Perron is accused of selling his students work 
  • On his website that has since been taken down, Perron listed his students work for over $100 a piece
  • Joel DeBellefeuille, parent of a 13-year-old student, took legal action against the teacher and the school board

Outraged parents in Canada are claiming an art teacher has taken their children’s assignments and listed them for sale online without their permission.

Mario Perron, of Westwood Junior High School in Montreal, is accused of selling his students work as mugs, ornaments and more for over a $100 a piece on his website.

The site, which has now been taken down, included coffee mugs with a student named Logan’s drawings on them priced at $41.

Other artwork for sale included pieces called ‘Creepy Portrait’ painted by different students Perron was selling for $151 each. 

Joel DeBellefeuille, parent of 13-year-old student Jax told The Washington Post, ‘This guy basically had his own little, you know, sweatshop of children. It’s insane. I’m still in disbelief.’

Montreal-area Westwood Junior High School art teacher Mario Perron (pictured) is accused of selling his students work online

Montreal-area Westwood Junior High School art teacher Mario Perron (pictured) is accused of selling his students work online

Other artwork for sale included pieces called 'Creepy Portrait' painted by different students Perron was selling for $151 each

Other artwork for sale included pieces called ‘Creepy Portrait’ painted by different students Perron was selling for $151 each

On his website that has since been taken down, Perron lists coffee mugs with a student named Logan's drawings on them priced at $41

On his website that has since been taken down, Perron lists coffee mugs with a student named Logan’s drawings on them priced at $41

One assignment from Perron the father shared on Facebook said the students were told to create a project in the style of Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Perron said in the assignment, ‘The challenge is to make an original artwork in Basquiat’s style; not to copy one of this images.

‘I am very familiar with Basquiat’s work and will return copied work, because it is considered plagiarism.’ 

DeBellefeuille took legal action against the teacher and the Lester B. Pearson School Board when he learned of what Perron was doing.

The legal notice he sent to the school is seeking 350,000 Canadian dollars – nearly $260,000 – for violating Canada’s copyright law and moral and punitive damages. 

He said Perron listed the artwork, ‘without the consent of their creators, in bad faith, and in violation of all laws related to the intellectual property of an artist.’

The legal notice said Perron ‘for commercial purposes bear the name of the student as the author, easily allowing for identification’ and ‘the portraits represent the students, causing them significant moral harm and could be used, in the future, to hurt or bully them psychologically.’

DeBellefeuille is calling for Perron to be suspended from teaching and the students artwork to be taken down from all platforms. 

Parent Joel  DeBellefeuille is calling for Perron to be suspended from teaching and the students artwork to be taken down from all platforms

Parent Joel  DeBellefeuille is calling for Perron to be suspended from teaching and the students artwork to be taken down from all platforms

Michael Bennett, father of a 12-year-old student whose artwork was listed for sale told CTV News he learned about what happened when his two daughters came home from school and told him a classmate found the website after googling himself.

‘I’m extremely disgusted with this person. It’s extremely, you know, it’s unbelievable,’ said Bennett.

Lester B. Pearson School Board Director of Communications and Community Development Darren Becker told DailyMail.com an investigation is underway. 

‘The Lester B Pearson School Board is aware of the situation and is taking these allegations very seriously. An investigation is underway so the school board cannot comment on this matter any further.’



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