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Inclusion Alberta remains committed to seclusion room ban

Published Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Just days before school is to begin, which ought to be a time every child in Alberta anticipates with excitement and parents look forward to, Alberta's four largest school districts are calling for the Ministerial Order banning the use of seclusion rooms to be rescinded. Although the ban allowed for seclusion to still be used in exceptional circumstances, Alberta's largest school districts are saying, "Exceptions are insufficient", implying they want to be able to once again lock up children with disabilities in seclusion rooms without any provincial government oversight.

Parents should be fearful when these boards are arguing they should be able to force students who are at risk of harming themselves into seclusion, as this simply places students at serious and additional risk. The boards' demands fly in the face of the previously agreed to use of seclusion for emergencies only and not as a programmatic practice, as agreed to by multiple educational stakeholders. In a survey last fall, hundreds of parents shared how their young children with disabilities and other challenges have been harmed by the past practice of seclusion and restraint without any provincial government accountability.

Rather than strive to the greatest degree possible to provide effective and proven-positive approaches to supporting students with complex challenges, these boards are calling upon the government to permit them to continue to use methods of punishment that are known to be ineffectual and emotionally harmful. It is oxymoronic to claim that safe and inclusive schools can be fostered by resorting to dragging or forcing students with disabilities into locked seclusion room. Inclusion Alberta remains committed to challenging any discriminatory or unwarranted seclusion of students with disabilities.

Inclusion Alberta president Barb MacIntyre, who is also the parent of a son with developmental disabilities, stated "We call upon the Minister of Education to represent our sons and daughters with disabilities as equally worthy of protection by our government as any other student, so we can be sure our children are safe and secure when at school and not in a school district's version of solitary confinement."

Trish Bowman, Inclusion Alberta CEO, added, "This is a truly disappointing moment in Alberta when the leaders entrusted with the education, safety and well-being of hundreds of thousands of students, want to be able to put students with disabilities in harm's way. The Ministerial ban on the use of seclusion rooms should remain in place, with exceptions only in individual and limited exigent circumstances within strict provincial monitoring and accountability."

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If you have any questions about the Ministerial Order banning seclusion rooms, please reach out to us at mail@inclusionalberta.org.


 

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