New Education Funding needs to Align with Premier Danielle’s Smith’s Previous Statements on Inclusive Education and the Use of Seclusion Rooms in Schools
For Immediate Release – March 22, 2023
Edmonton, AB – Inclusion Alberta is pleased to see the Alberta government announce $126 million in new education funding over three years for school districts to hire more educational assistants, increase their hours, provide more training for staff, and/or hire specialists. Premier Danielle Smith can now act on her previous commitments to ensure parental choice for a quality inclusive education is honoured and the use of seclusion and restraint in schools comes to an end.
Too often parents of students with developmental disabilities haven been falsely told by schools and school districts their child with developmental disabilities cannot be educated in the regular classroom due to a lack of resources. They have been told this while school districts have had a legal obligation to support the inclusion of students with developmental disabilities for decades and to reallocate their resources accordingly. While there are schools and school districts in Alberta who abide by this requirement, honouring parental choice for inclusion and allocating resources accordingly, this is far from universal. This must change.
As a candidate for the UCP leadership, Danielle Smith was asked by Inclusion Alberta, if elected leader would she provide parents with the right to choose a quality inclusive education for their children with developmental disabilities.
Ms. Smith, now Premier Smith, stated:
“We need to ensure there are enough education assistants in a classroom to fully support inclusion.” “We need to accommodate all parent choice.”
Monica Braat, Inclusion Alberta President and parent of a son with developmental disabilities stated, “The Premier and her government must hold school districts accountable to the existing Ministerial Order supporting inclusive education in the regular classroom, to ensure this additional funding is utilized to support the inclusive education of students with developmental disabilities and to honour parental choice”.
In response to a question on the existing use of seclusion and restraints in schools, Ms. Smith’s as a UCP leadership candidate response stated:
“If we have sufficient education assistants in classrooms there should be no need for these measures. We have to resolve the staffing issues.”
Trish Bowman, CEO of Inclusion Alberta, stated, “Premier Smith must act to ensure this new and additional funding ensures staff are trained in positive behavioural strategies, which are proven to be more effective in addressing behaviour challenges without further traumatizing students, as seclusion and restraint are known to do. The government must hold school districts accountable for implementing alternative non-violent responses and ending the use of seclusion and physical restraints.”
Inclusion Alberta Chief Executive Officer Trish Bowman is available for interviews.
Please contact Tara-Lee LaRose, Inclusion Alberta Executive Assistant at firstname.lastname@example.org or 780-554-1546.
About Inclusion Alberta: Inclusion Alberta is a family based, non-profit federation that advocates on behalf of children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families. Together, we share a dream of meaningful family life and community inclusion for individuals with developmental disabilities. As an advocacy organization we support families and individuals in their desire to be fully included in community life.