The order will come into effect for the upcoming 2019-20 school year. The ban will take effect on Sept. 1.
“As a parent and a former teacher, I’ve been disturbed by some of the incidents I’ve heard about involving seclusion rooms. Our government believes schools must be safe and caring places for all students to learn – especially the most vulnerable. I want to thank the members of the working group I appointed to advise me on this issue. They made it clear that new guidelines alone were not sufficient to limit the use of these rooms and their advocacy helped shape the decision to sign the order.”
As a first step, local boards will be asked to submit a list of schools with a seclusion room. They will then require a declaration that these rooms be decommissioned by Aug. 30, 2019. Alberta Education will be performing on-site inspections and monitoring to ensure compliance.
The order permits school boards to apply to the minister for exemptions, but only if they can demonstrate support from parents.
- A seclusion room is a room, structure or enclosure in a school operated by a school authority. The primary purpose of a seclusion room is the involuntary confinement or isolation of a student where the student is prevented or incapable of evacuating without the assistance of another person because security measures are not under the student’s control.
- In October 2018, Minister Eggen appointed a working group of parents, teachers and experts to advise government on drafting new guidelines for the use of seclusion rooms in schools.
- The working group met for three days in late 2018 and again with a broad group of stakeholders before the holidays. Following these meetings, many advocates for people with disabilities and members of the working group reached out to Minister Eggen to express the view that guidelines alone were not sufficient.