For immediate release
Rally calls for end to unnecessary restraint and all seclusion in BC schools
(Victoria, 14 April 2021 ) – An online rally backed by BCEdAccess Society calls for Ministry of Education and school boards to end the practice of restraint and seclusion in BC schools. The rally will be streamed April 15, from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm. Folks can get the link to the stream by joining the Facebook event::https://fb.me/e/4hxIJ2YfB.
“Schools are still keeping children in isolation and seclusion, away from their peers and the supports they need to de-escalate,” says Tracy Humphreys, chair and founder of BCEdAccess Society. .”Others are restraining children, without first using de-escalation, earlier intervention or following safety and support plans.” Districts do not collect data or information on restraint and seclusion room use, says Humphreys, whose non-profit, BCEdAccess, launched the BC Exclusion Tracker in 2018 and tracks parent-reported data.
School boards and staff need information on how restraint and seclusion harms and to use safe alternatives and best practices,” says Humphreys, noting some schools have kept children in seclusion even when their child has not had a physical outburst in recent history. “We have a higher number of reports from parents concerned their children are being restrained and secluded this school year, and, because of COVID restrictions, parents cannot even go into the school to check.”
“School rooms for students who are dysregulated, needing some quiet time or struggling, should be created as an opt in – opt out spaces for all students in the school, with appropriate entry and exit points for all students using the space and created in meaningful consultation with professionals,” says Angela Clancy, Executive Director, Family Support Institute of BC, who will speak at the rally. “We have schools meant to include all students, but some of those rooms are built to prevent some students from leaving or to manage their behaviour, instead of using techniques to de-escalate and collaborate. These rooms, in the way they are being used, cause harm and can leave long lasting damage for children.”
Inclusion BC has been actively campaigning against these practices for at least 7 years.Their 3 recommendations:
1. Provincial prohibition on the use of restraint and seclusion, except in very limited and specific situations, with all school boards required to adopt policies and procedures to demonstrate compliance.
2. School incident reporting requirements to strengthen accountability, inform parents and trigger automatic reviews to ensure that positive behaviour support plans and staff training are in place.
3. Provincial support for training in positive behaviour supports and conflict de-escalation for teachers, support staff, administrators and district staff.
BCEdAccess joins self-advocates, families and organizations like Inclusion BC, Family Support Institute of BC and ICARS in seeking a complete ban on unnecessary restraint and all seclusion. BCEdAccess supports the Langley school district’s Motion 15 coming 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.
For more details, contact Tracy Humphreys, firstname.lastname@example.org, 250-858-5165
Backgrounder – Safe, Inclusive Schools – Action Against Restraint And Seclusion
Rally held online April 15, 2021, 9:30 am to 6:00 pm
The BCEdAccess Society is an organization of families of children and youth with disabilities and complex learners all over the province of British Columbia. We champion and support children and youth who have disabilities and who are complex learners to reach their full potential in BC education and in all aspects of their lives. Learn more at http://www.bcedaccess.com
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.