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(Canada) BC: 5 yrs later, BC schools still using restraint, seclusion; physical,emotional harm

May 18, 2018, (Canada) Vancouver (BC) Tyee: Schools Still Secluding and Restraining Special Needs Students: Report It’s been five years since a B.C. disability rights group blew the whistle on public schools’ common practice of restraining or secluding students, the majority with special needs. But a new report from Inclusion BC shows the practice hasn’t gone away, and previous government action has yielded minimal results. Released on May 16, Stop Hurting Kids II details survey responses from 170 parents and guardians who completed the organization’s 44 question online survey last fall. Inclusion BC executive director Faith Bodnar told The Tyee she believes there are even more parents with children who’ve been restrained or secluded, but a combination of not knowing about the survey, fearing repercussions from speaking out, or not knowing what’s happening to their kids have kept those voices silent. “This survey and the one in 2013 said most parents don’t find out except by someone telling them who witnessed it, or happening to be in the school at an unexpected time and they see it,” she said. … Of those who did participate in the survey, the majority identified their children as being male between the ages of five and eight, and having some ministry-recognized special needs designation. Instances of seclusion and restraint dropped off as children got older. Of the parents who reported their child being restrained in the 2016/17 school year, there were five reports of students being restrained in school on a daily basis, and five on a weekly basis. Methods of restraint ranged from being tied to a chair, restrained while lying face down, and even forced into a large Rubbermaid tote. Of those who reported instances of seclusion, where students are kept in a space alone that they are physically prevented from leaving on their own, nine survey respondents reported their children being left in seclusion for more than three hours, and one report of a student who was kept away from other children all day, every day. … “We heard reports of physical harm, emotional and psychological trauma. One of the reports is that it took the family three weeks for their child to actually de-escalate and calm down. It caused anxiety and an unwillingness to go back to school,” she said. … While no new funding is attached for teacher training, special needs education is included in the ongoing public school funding review, the results of which are expected by the end of this summer. Fleming also pointed to the additional 140 full-time equivalent (FTE) special education teacher positions, 600 FTE education assistant positions, and 180 FTE teacher psychologist positions in the province hired since the 2016/17 school year, all of whom work directly with students with special needs. …

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