Middle School Teacher Accused of Selling Students’ Art Online

A Canadian teacher who allegedly offered his middle-school students’ artwork for sale online faces a potential lawsuit from their parents. Mario Perron posted submissions from a homework assignment on a since-deactivated virtual marketplace, where he hawked images of his students’ drawings on coffee mugs and tote bags. 

Perron allegedly asked his class to create artwork in the style of Jean-Michel Basquiat for a “creepy portraits” project, according to a February 13 lawyer’s letter sent on behalf of two parents to the teacher and his employer, the Lester B. Pearson School Board in Montreal. On February 8, two students Googled Perron and stumbled across his selling platform, where they encountered their homework for sale.

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The February 13 notice, reviewed by Hyperallergic, asks the district to suspend Perron, send an apology letter, and hand over CA$350,000 (~$259,000) “in accordance with the copyright act” and for “moral and punitive damages.” Six other parents soon signed on, and the monetary demand grew to CA$175,000 (~$129,500) per affected student. 

The school board told Hyperallergic it could not comment on an ongoing investigation, but noted that by the time the institution examined Perron’s marketplace, the buying option had been disabled. It is unclear whether or not the teacher, who did not respond to Hyperallergic‘s request for comment, successfully sold any of his students’ works. 

In an ironic twist, Perron allegedly stated in the instructions for his “creepy portraits” assignment, “I am very familiar with Basquiat’s work and will return copied work because it is considered plagiarism.”

Source: Hyperallergic.com

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