While most school districts in the province of British Columbia have policies and procedures in place regarding seclusion and restraint, work is still needed to ensure that all students are treated with respect and dignity and are safe at all times in all situations.
Every BC school board as well as the Ministry of Education needs access to data on the use of these rooms, what isolation and seclusion does to individuals, and what they can do in place of these practices.
We must work together on this matter. It is urgent. During the pandemic, our Exclusion Tracker shows that seclusion and unnecessary restraints are still being used in schools. Further, parents are worried because they can’t go into the school to see what is happening.
BCEdAccess joins disabled people and their families around the province as well as organizations like Inclusion BC, Family Support Institute of BC and international organizations like ICARS in seeking a complete ban on unnecessary restraint and all seclusion.
We support Motion 15 which the Langley school district is bringing to the British Columbia School Trustees Association upcoming annual general meeting, recommending full disclosure and regular reporting regarding every incident of seclusion, isolation and restraint that occurs in a BC school. We will all benefit from understanding the extent to which these unacceptable practices occur.
Families of disabled children and youth in British Columbia have asked that we support them in taking action. To that end, we are asking everyone to support the following:
- Letter writing campaign
This letter supports Motion 15 by the Langley School District being brought to the BCSTA AGM April 15-18, 2021
2. April 15th online and in-person rallies
Online Rally – click the link to join the Facebook event
Inspired by the recent Disability Filibuster, this all day event will be a coming together of disabled people and their families, family organizations, and supporters to talk about seclusion and unnecessary restraint in BC schools, and appeal to the government to ban the practices.
10-10:30 am – Mx. K Bron Johnson
she/they Mx. K. Bron Johnson is an Autistic and Hard of Hearing (HoH) self-advocate, and founder of Completely Inclusive, social enterprise consultancy devoted to Inclusion and Accessibility in the workplace. As a Black nonbinary woman of mixed heritage, she brings her lived experience and intersecting identities to all her work, and challenges people to see Disabled People, LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and all oppressed or marginalized peoples in a different light. Bron is also interested in mitigating the effects of Colonialism and Intergenerational Trauma and how we can all work together to dismantle systemic inequities in society. She lives with her life partner and two children in Montreal, Canada.
1030am-12pm – International Coalition Against Restraint and Seclusion – Beth Morrison (Scotland), Zoey Read (US-Virginia), Deirdre (Northern Ireland) and possibly one more
12-1pm – Professor Andrew McDonnell, Studio 3 – UK
1-2pm – Karla Verschoor and Erika Cedillo, Inclusion BC
Karla and Erika will talk about the work that Inclusion BC has done since 2013 through their campaign Stop Hurting Kids to ban the use of restraint and seclusion in BC school. They will talk about the steps gained, the challenges remaining and the steps ahead to ensure children are safe.
2-230pm – live feed from Penticton in person rally
230-330 pm – Terra, autistic self-advocate, Neuroclastic
330-400 pm – Angela Clancy, Family Support Institute of BC
- Define R&S, talk about FSIBC”s experiences with families around them, and talk about the lack of safety and accountability in BC law and systems.
4-4:30 pm Anonymous audio submission of personal experience
430-530pm – Dr. Anamaria Richardson
- From a pediatrician’s perspective, the issues on inequitable access to education for diverse children
530-6pm – Closing
9 hours of Zoom interviews, presentations, talks, etc. around seclusion and restraint and why it should be banned.
International Coalition Against Restraint and Seclusion (ICARS)
Family Support Institute
Kelly Johnson, Complètement Inclusif / Completely Inclusive
Terra Vance from NeuroClastic
Dr. Anamaria Richardson
Anonymous testimony from disabled adults and parents/guardians of disabled children and youth
and more to come!
What is restraint?
Restraints include the use of physical force, mechanical devices, or chemicals to immobilize a person.
What is seclusion?
A type of restraint, seclusion involves confining a person in a space from which the person cannot exit freely.
What is a seclusion room?
Which children and youth are most often restrained and/or secluded at schools?
Disproportionately, disabled students and especially IBPOC students are restrained and/or secluded and excluded from schools.
Why ban unnecessary restraint and all seclusion?
The case for the banning of these practices has been made. We invite you to read the exerpt from an article written by Beth Tolley for Alliance Against Seclusion and Restraint. View the full article here:
The use of restraint and seclusion has been debated for decades; these procedures continue to be used today despite reports of psychological and physical harm, including the deaths of students; and they are mostly used on disabled children and youth, disproportionately those who are Indigenous, Black, and other POC children and youth. Use of these procedures causes psychological harm to observers – other children and youth, and staff, and physical and psychological harm to the individuals doing the secluding or restraining, including death.
To eliminate the use of unnecessary restraint and all seclusion, systems must change. Educational leaders and administrators hold tremendous power in what is allowed, supported, encouraged in each school as well as what is no longer acceptable. This power needs to be recognized and used for the benefit of the students and our society. On a system level, superintendents, administrators, school boards can do the following right now.
- Make a commitment to stop practices that have been shown to be abusive, harmful (even deadly), and ineffective. Encourage your school or school district to update its policy and practice to reduce the use of restraint and prohibit the use of seclusion.
- Provide the information, training (content and time), and support (staffing levels, consultants, coaches, mentors) for school personnel to learn the basic neuroscience underlying behavioral responses; how to integrate preventative strategies throughout each day, and about implicit, as well as explicit bias around disabled, racialized students.
- Make a commitment to collaborate with students and parents to ensure a school culture that is welcoming to all students.
- Review policies, procedures, guidance documents, codes of conduct, and programs (including disciplinary and/or incentive programs) for alignment with current science, equity, and inclusion. Revise to eliminate racial and disability biases, expectations, and assumptions as well as anything based on outdated science. Include representatives of people most impacted throughout the review and revision process, including students, parents, advocates, as well as people representing different races, ethnicities, cultures, national origin, gender, gender identity, and socio-economic backgrounds.
- Commit to transparency.
- Commit to living the values of respect for and appreciation of diversity in terms of race, culture, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, and ability/disability. Commit to inclusion for all students – with appropriate supports and accommodations.
• Ministry of Education Provincial Guidelines – Physical Restraint and Seclusion in School Settings
Inclusion BC’s Stop Hurting Kids 1 and 2
This event is being organized via volunteer labour and any costs are being funded by BCEdAccess. Costs include:
Sign language interpreters
Audio-visual rentals, insurance, space rental, masks, water bottles for in person rallies
We invite any supporters to contribute to these costs at this link: