Youth centre searches are ‘rare’

By Robert Frank

Unlike school officials, workers at Laval’s youth protection centre are under instructions to search some of the young residents there from time to time, explained Centre de jeunesse de Laval spokesman Mathieu Vachon.

“No one really likes to be searched but, in a place like ours, searches are part of our job,” he told The Suburban after a former resident, Esteban Torres, alleged to news outlets that the youth centre conducted strip searches for illegal drugs, weapons and cell phones.

“It’s our duty,” Vachon said in an interview. “We have teens here whom we care for under the terms of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. We have to protect the kids who are in our facilities. So we have to ensure that no forbidden items enter.”

“Usually the kids respect the rules,” he noted, “but when we have serious reason to suspect that someone is carrying forbidden items, we’re authorized under very specific and strict rules to conduct a search.”

“In all circumstances, searches are done in a very responsible manner and are done very seldom,” he said. “It’s not something that we do every day.”

Vachon explained that, most of the time, this entails a partial search like a pat-down.

“It’s very rare that we do complete searches,” he said. “To be clear, when we do complete searches it involves searching all the clothes.”

He added that the youth centre does not perform cavity searches.

“That is strictly forbidden,” Vachon said. “Only police can do that.”
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