Alberta’s Minister of Education David Eggin recently announced that seclusion rooms will be banned in that province by the start of the next school year. The announcement comes after strong public advocacy from Inclusion Alberta and after families told their stories to the media.
Inclusion BC has produced two reports on the use of restraint and seclusion in BC Schools, Stop Hurting Kids (2013) and Stop Hurting Kids 2 (2017). Results from both surveys indicate that this is still a prevalent practice. We have urged the Government of BC on both occasions to end this abusive intervention and to provide necessary training for educators in positive behaviour support.
Inclusion Alberta recently conducted their own survey with similarly disturbing results. Like BC, most of the children who were the victims were under the age of 10 years old; most parents were not informed of this action; over 30% of the children were secluded for more than 30 minutes; emotional trauma or distress was commonly reported in both jurisdictions. These reports clearly indicate that the well-being and safety of our children while in school requires immediate legislative action in both provinces.
We are encouraged by the recent announcement that the Minister of Education for Alberta that he intends to issue a Ministerial Order to ban the use of seclusion rooms in that province.
While a positive step has been taken by Minister Fleming, BC Minister of Education by requiring all 60 school districts in BC to have policies that are based upon the 2015 provincial guidelines on the use of restraint and seclusion, it is not enough. It is time for BC’s Minister to follow the lead of Alberta and to issue a Ministerial Order banning the use of seclusion.