Gateway Gazette

Supporting Safe Schools for Students and Staff

Permanent standards for the use of seclusion and physical restraint are now available to help schools protect all students and staff.

The new standards take effect on Nov. 1 and give teachers and school officials the tools they need to ensure a safe learning and working environment. Alberta now has a comprehensive set of standards, accompanied by reporting processes. Guidelines are also available for the use of time-out in schools.

“The majority of our education partners told us that banning seclusion rooms limits a school’s ability to protect the safety of everyone. We listened, and worked with our partners to provide school authorities with a measured approach for the use of these tools in schools. This is about preventing misuse and ensuring the well-being, safety and dignity of all students and staff.”Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education

The standards provide school authorities with a well-defined approach for the use of seclusion and physical restraint. They also outline design requirements for the room and that it must abide by all building, safety and fire codes. School divisions are required to report on their use of seclusion and physical restraint on a regular basis.

“Seclusion and physical restraint are tools of last resort. I applaud school divisions that are looking for ways to limit their use, and are even working towards their elimination. What these standards do is provide clear guidance for how and when these tools are used, and they will hold the system accountable.”Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education

The standards and guidelines were finalized with input from key partners, including Inclusion Alberta, Autism Society Alberta, the Alberta Teachers’ Association, the Alberta School Boards Association, the Alberta School Councils’ Association, the College of Alberta School Superintendents, and the four metro school boards.

“We are encouraged that the government has accepted some of our recommendations in the development of the standards and appreciate Minister LaGrange’s collaborative and continuing efforts to improve the safety of children with disabilities. Inclusion Alberta will continue to advocate for clearly defined public reporting on the use of seclusion and ultimately the elimination of seclusion and restraint in Alberta schools.”Barb MacIntyre, president, Inclusion Alberta

“Edmonton Public Schools is thankful the Government of Alberta has taken feedback and input from school jurisdictions and stakeholders in creating the guidelines and requirements for seclusion rooms. Combined with our district’s own strong administrative regulation, parents can be assured that we have strong rules around the use of seclusion rooms. Edmonton Public is committed to reducing and preventing the use of seclusion rooms.”Trisha Estabrooks, chair, Edmonton Public Schools

“I appreciate Minister LaGrange’s efforts to involve the Alberta Teachers’ Association in the development of measures that will assist teachers to ensure Alberta’s classrooms remain safe, caring and inclusive for all. The guidelines thoughtfully address a difficult and complex issue. The association looks forward to working with government and school jurisdictions to further refine and support their implementation.”Jason Schilling, president, Alberta Teachers’ Association

“The College of Alberta School Superintendents is appreciative that the guidelines and standards will ensure the safety and dignity of all students and staff and reflects the work of the college.”Bevan Daverne, president,College of Alberta School Superintendents

“Our priority is to do what is in the best interests of students while ensuring the safety of both students and staff. These new guidelines provide a framework for seclusion rooms that will keep students safe throughout the province.”Laura Thibert, chair, Edmonton Catholic Schools

“The Calgary Board of Education would like to thank Minister LaGrange for her leadership around the use of seclusion rooms in the province and for the meaningful collaboration that took place in the development of the seclusion room standards and time-out guidelines. These standards and guidelines will facilitate consistent practices and provide safe school communities for our students and staff.”Marilyn Dennis, chair, Calgary Board of Education

“We are pleased to see that the ministry’s standards are so closely aligned with our current practices. We are very appreciative of the government’s willingness to listen to our concerns and to help us ensure the varying needs of complex students are met. At Calgary Catholic, we strongly agree with the need to understand our complex students as individuals and provide proactive and supportive environments for all students to experience success. We will continue to collaborate with our parents in meeting the needs of our students.”Linda Wellman, vice-chair, Calgary Catholic School District

“The Alberta School Boards Association is pleased that government took the time to consult boards and complete a full review of the standards for seclusion rooms and physical restraint, and guidelines for time-out before reaching a decision in the best interest of all students. ASBA and member boards believe optimal learning occurs in welcoming, caring, respectful, safe and healthy learning environments that respect diversity, foster a sense of belonging, and promote student well-being. Each student has the right to learn in inclusive environments where equality of opportunity, dignity, and respect are promoted. We are committed to providing this environment for students, and ensuring the highest standards of excellence in education. We appreciate the opportunity to provide feedback and look forward to continued collaboration and consultation.”Lorrie Jess, president,Alberta School Boards Association

“The Association of Independent Schools and Colleges in Alberta appreciates the opportunity to collaborate on furthering safe learning environments for all students through the development of the guidelines for time-out in Alberta schools and the standards for seclusion and physical restraint in Alberta schools.”Simon Williams, president, Association of Independent Schools and Colleges in Alberta

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