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(Canada) Ed Minister seeks to ban seclusion rooms; more than half of SPED kids secluded

Feb 22, 2019, Globe and Mail: Alberta government moves to ban seclusion rooms for students with special needs https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/alberta/article-alberta-government-moves-to-ban-seclusion-rooms-for-students-with/ Alberta’s Education Minister David Eggen is moving to ban school seclusion rooms following reports from parents who say their children with special needs suffered emotional and physical trauma from being restrained or confined. In an e-mail on Friday to a government-appointed panel of experts studying the use of seclusion rooms, Mr. Eggen said he will be issuing a ministerial order shortly and that all school seclusion rooms must be decommissioned by the coming academic year. “I am deeply concerned by some of the things that parents and students are sharing about their family’s experiences with seclusion rooms. We can and must do better for our kids,” Mr. Eggen said in the e-mail. … A recent analysis of survey data by Inclusion Alberta, a group that advocates on behalf of people with developmental disabilities, found more than half of parents in the province said their children with special needs were restrained at school or confined in seclusion rooms. The survey of nearly 400 families included voices of parents who spoke of the trauma their children experienced. Some said they turned to home-schooling their children…. The rooms can be used to give out-of-control child a place to calm down or as a punishment for their behaviour. “He is to be commended for taking action on behalf of students who often are perceived to have no voice,” she said. “This is a day to be celebrated as it will no longer be possible for young children to be locked in solitary confinement when at school, or for their parents to be filled with worry when they send their children to school.” … In its latest report, released last year, People for Education, an Ontario advocacy group, noted an increase in the number of elementary and secondary school principals who report recommending a special-education student stay home for at least part of a day. The organization found 58 per cent of elementary school heads and 48 per cent of high school principals made the request, up from 48 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively, in 2014.