Administrators at a suburban Montreal public school have launched an investigation into an art teacher accused of selling his students’ work online for more than $100 each.
Mario Perron’s dubious extracurricular hustle was discovered on Wednesday by a pupil who found a web store with listings for drawings they and others had made in class at Westwood Junior High School in Saint-Lazare, according to CTV News. The student told a teacher, and from there, word spread throughout the school, the outlet reported.
One parent, whose 12-year-old daughter drew a “creepy portrait” allegedly offered by Perron for prices up to $151 Canadian—about $110 USD—on four different sites, told CTV that he had serious ethical concerns about the situation and was “extremely disgusted” by Perron. His child’s drawing can be purchased as a $118 print, on a $55 T-shirt, or as an iPhone case for $35, all of which he described to CTV as “unbelievable.”
“Is this teacher asking for certain types of projects to be done to be able to sell them?” the parent said. “Is he asking for these types of portraits to be done so it meets the market?”
Another parent said his 13-year-old son found a drawing of himself, which had been done by a classmate, for sale on Perron’s site. He called the situation “extremely troubling.”
“It’s unbelievable that he felt that he had the right to utilize and essentially exploit these children’s rights and their artwork for his own financial satisfaction,” he told CTV News.
As of Saturday afternoon, some 92 student portraits were still available in Perron’s web store.
The Daily Beast was unable to reach school board officials on Saturday. However, a board spokesperson told CTV News in an email on Thursday that school officials are “aware of the situation and [are] taking these allegations very seriously.”
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