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Teacher Gets Sued For Allegedly Selling Students' Artwork On His Personal Website

In addition to selling the children's portraits and creating merchandise, Perron also used the students' real names as the titles of the artwork.

Cover image via NY Post Canva

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A Canadian teacher has been caught allegedly selling nearly 100 artworks created by his students on his personal website

The Montreal-based art teacher had given his students an assignment to create an artwork in the style of New York painter, Jean-Michel Basquiat.

The Year 7 students later found their art available for purchase on their teacher's website after browsing it online for fun on 13 February.

Almost 3,000 items were available for purchase, including the artworks printed on mugs, ornaments, cushions, shower curtains, mobile phone cases, and clothing. Prices went up to 118 Canadian dollars (RM418).

A screenshot of the children's artwork on sale online.

Image via The Times

"Imagine your 13-year-old son coming home from school today with a story that his art teacher is selling students' artwork online at $94 per drawing without their prior knowledge!? That is completely insane," posted Joel DeBellefeuille, father to one of the affected students, on X.

Image via Joel DeBellefeuille (X)

The teacher, Mario Perron, described himself as a "lifelong student of art" on his website and LinkedIn profile, both of which have now been removed

The student artworks were a compilation of self-portraits by the children, as well as portraits of each other.

In addition to selling the portraits and creating merchandise with the artworks, Perron had also named the works with the students' real names, such as Julia's Creepy Portrait, Charlotte's Creepy Portrait, and Olivia's Creepy Portrait. 

The children's artworks were signed "Mario MJ Perron".

The children's artwork was available for purchase as merchandise.

Image via New York Post

Perron has not released a public statement or spoken to any media outlets. He has also disabled all his social media accounts, including Instagram and Facebook.

"I'm extremely disgusted with this person. It's extremely, you know, it's unbelievable," said Michael Bennett, a father whose two daughters had their artwork up for sale, as quoted by The Washington Post

"Is [Perron] asking for these types of portraits to be done so it meets the market? I'm not quite sure on that aspect. However, I am not impressed at all with this person. I'm not impressed with the school, or the school board … [My daughters] feel cheated," Bennett added.

A legal letter has been sent to the school board and Perron for allegedly listing the artworks without the consent of the creators, violating intellectual property laws of the student artists

Joel DeBellefeuille, whose initial post on X went viral, initiated the legal action, saying that the teacher had created a "sweatshop of children" to generate art for his financial benefit.

The school board confirmed that it had received the legal notice, stating in an email, "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 at this point."

Mario Perron (left) and his website selling the children's artwork as his own.

Image via Daily Mail

The legal notice is seeking 350,000 Canadian dollars (over RM1.2 million) for breaching the country's copyright act, as well as for moral and punitive damages. It alleges that the artworks used by Perron for commercial purposes bear the name of the students, who can easily be identified.

The notice goes on to say that the portraits could cause significant moral harm and hurt to the children, and opens them up to psychological bullying. Parents are calling for Perron to be suspended from teaching.

Social media users are split over the news, with some taking the teacher's side

Some commenters felt that the teacher repurposed art that would have been thrown out by parents. While others felt that teachers in general are "underpaid and exploited", thus supporting Perron's actions.

Image via Instagram

Image via Instagram

However, other commenters felt Perron's actions were wrong

Image via

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