Government repeals ban on seclusion rooms in Alberta schools
Education minister chides former NDP government for 'short-sighted approach' to complex issue
Seclusion rooms will continue to be used in Alberta schools this year after the province repealed a ban put in place by the previous NDP government.
A ministerial order issued by former education minister David Eggen will be repealed as of Sept. 1, the government said Thursday in a news release.
New standards for the use of seclusion rooms to help teachers deal with disruptions in class are expected to be in place by the end of October.
Those standards will be finalized with input from school boards, the Alberta Teachers' Association, the advocacy group Inclusion Alberta and other stakeholders, the province said.
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Interim standards are in place for the beginning of the school year, said the news release.
The standards document, dated August 2019, states that seclusion and/or physical restraint "may only be used as a last resort when a child's/student's behaviour poses significant imminent danger of serious physical harm to themselves or others.
"The use of seclusion or physical restraint is to be immediately discontinued when the child's/student's behaviour no longer poses such danger."
Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said in the news release she has received numerous letters since she was appointed to cabinet asking her to rethink what she called the former government's "short-sighted approach" to seclusion rooms and student safety.
"In fact, almost every stakeholder I encountered on this issue — school boards, teachers, administrators and parents — clearly tell me that a full ban limits a school's ability to protect the safety of everyone," LaGrange said in the news release.