Richmond school district apologizes to family of hospitalized teen

Richmond school district issued a statement saying "confusion" resulted in parents not being contacted after their son was sent to hospital.

When a disabled teen was sent to Richmond Hospital last week after an incident at McRoberts Secondary, his parents weren’t contacted due to “confusion” between police and the school, according to a statement released by the school district early Tuesday morning.

“This, understandably, caused significant concern to the parents who should have been notified,” Scott Robinson, superintendent of the Richmond School District, said in the statement. “An apology has been provided directly to the parents by the school district.”

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The 16-year-old, who has spina bifida, hydrocephalus and a heart condition, was agitated and “edgy,” according to his father, Ibrahim Elburai, and the teen claimed he had been given a drug. The RCMP are continuing their investigation into the incident.

The "very fragile" teen was sent to Richmond Hospital on his own and it was a few hours later when the parents found out about the situation from family acquaintances, Elburai told the Richmond News.

Elburai was upset the school couldn’t get hold of him or his wife, although they have their phones with them all the time as well as a landline.

“The worst part is the school didn’t bother to call us,” Elburai said on Friday.

According to the statement, the school district has apologized to the family – in “normal circumstances,” the family would have been notified.

According to the Richmond RCMP, the student “fell ill after allegedly consuming an unknown substance.”

“At this stage, we believe that this is an isolated incident with no additional reports noted,” said Cpl. Dennis Hwang, spokesperson for the Richmond RCMP, on Friday.

In the statement, the school district said it will be reviewing its communication protocols with parents and the RCMP “in order to avoid future confusion.”

“In order to ensure that a situation like this does not occur again, the school district will be taking steps to ensure that expectations regarding communication with parents in similar circumstances are clear to all school administrators,” Robinson explained in the statement. “In addition, communication protocols with the Richmond RCMP will also be reviewed in order to avoid future confusion.”

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