Feb 15, 2019, Globe and Mail: Alberta urged to ban or regulate restraining special-needs children at school https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/alberta/article-inclusion-alberta-calls-on-province-to-govern-use-of-seclusion/ More than half of parents in Alberta say their children with special needs have been restrained at school or confined in seclusion rooms, prompting disability advocates to call on the province to ban or govern the use of these practices.
An analysis of survey data released on Friday by Inclusion Alberta, a group that advocates on behalf of people with developmental disabilities, found that about 80 per cent of parents said their child experienced emotional distress after being restrained. A smaller number noted their children showed signs of physical trauma…. Education Minister David Eggen said in a statement on Friday that he was “disturbed” by what parents shared around their children’s experiences with seclusion rooms. The rooms can be used to give out-of-control child a place to calm down, or as a punishment for their behaviour. “We can and must do better for our kids,” Mr. Eggen said. "After initial discussions with the working group I established on this matter, I am convinced that seclusion rooms must be banned. That said, we know that we need to find a safe space for students that are struggling and need therapeutic supports in school.”… Mr. Eggen announced the working group last fall to draft new guidelines and identify best practices on how schools should use seclusion rooms, restraint and timeouts. The issue came to the forefront after a lawsuit was launched last year by parents in Sherwood Park who say their 12-year-old son with autism was stripped naked and locked in a school isolation room, where he was found covered in his own feces. The working group did not come to a consensus on draft guidelines last year. It will meet again in the coming weeks to work on them, the government said…. Several provinces have struggled with including children with developmental disabilities in regular classrooms, even as they’ve moved toward a model of inclusive education over the past few decades. … …And another advocacy group, Inclusion B.C., published a report of what it described as “disturbing practices,” including a student left in seclusion for more than three hours, another tied to a chair and others restrained with straps or cuffs.