No change at Ponoka schools due to seclusion room ban

WCPS, STAR school divisions not using forced confinement on difficult students

A recently announced ban on seclusion rooms in schools is not really an issue for Ponoka’s two school divisions.

The Alberta government announced March 1 that the ban will start in September in schools — be it a room, structure or enclosure — where the primary purpose is to involuntarily isolate or confine a student in such a way the student can’t evacuate without assistance.

Back in late 2018, Alberta Education gathered a working group of parents, teachers and experts to advise the province on the issue. There have been requests to cancel the practice.

“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,” stated Education minister David Eggen in a release.


Wolf Creek Public Schools has confirmed there are no seclusion rooms within its division.

“The use of seclusion rooms, as defined through the ministerial order, has not been a common practice in Wolf Creek Public Schools,” stated WCPS superintendent Jayson Lovell.

Lovell added, WCPS has used current policies to guide staff, schools and parents on how best to deal with students that may have needed to be handled differently.

“Our district has established processes and procedures to guide staff when students require alternative space to regulate their behavior,” he said.

These include functional behavioural assessments, behaviour intervention plans, safety plans and creating individualized educational programming — all of which include parents, teachers, divisional staff and other experts to help build strategies to self-regulate behaviours plus de-escalate situations.

“Our staff also receives training in non-violent crisis intervention, life spaces crisis intervention and mental health first aid. This is training we are committed to continuing in WCPS, as this year alone more than 200 staff members received non-violent crisis intervention training.”


As for the St. Thomas Aquinas Roman (STAR) Catholic School Division — which operates St. Augustine School — there has never been a seclusion room inside the school.

“STAR Catholic School Division is aware of the ministerial order banning seclusion rooms and will comply with the regulations,” said STAR superintendent Charlie Bouchard in an email.

“We understand no two students are the same, and that each one has a unique set of needs when it comes to learning and development. STAR will continue working to meet those needs on an individual basis while ensuring every student is treated with dignity and respect.”

As a first step, school 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.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Bantam Broncs fall hard in Stettler

Team shutout by league’s top team

Red Deer-Lacombe candidate “thrilled” voters loved People’s Party of Canada platform

Laura-Lynn Thompson attended a results party at Sylvan Lake Golf and Country Club on Oct. 21

Blaine Calkins takes the seat for Red-Deer Lacombe

With 50 per cent of the riding counted, Calkins has over 21,000 votes

Trudeau has won the most seats — but not a majority. What happens next?

Trudeau will have to deal with some of the implications of Monday’s result

LIVE MAP: Results in Canada’s 2019 federal election

Polls are now closed across the country

Scheer says Canada more divided than ever, as NDP and Bloc hold cards close

While Liberals were shut out of two key prairie provinces, they took two-thirds of the seats in Ontario

Rebels extend losing streak to 5 against ‘Canes

4-3 loss comes after a disappointing 6-5 S/O loss on Saturday

People’s Party of Canada’s anti-immigration views ‘didn’t resonate’ with voters: prof

Party was formed on anti-immigration, climate denying views in 2018

PODCAST: Political Scientist Marc Froese discusses the results of the Federal Election

Western alienation, results, minority governments and more highlight this week’s The Expert podcast

Husky Energy lays off staff to align with lower spending plans and strategy

Company had 5,157 permanent employees at end of 2018, according to regulatory filing

‘Issue-by-issue parliament’: Expert says Liberals need to placate NDP to be effective

Scandals, social issues, racism defined 2019 federal election, SFU prof says

‘Wexit’ talk percolates day after Liberals returned to power with minority

An online petition is calling for a western alliance and Alberta to separate

Opposition to Trans Mountain won’t change, B.C. minister says

Pipeline projects proceed under minority Trudeau government

Alleged RCMP secret leaker must stay with B.C. parents while on bail

Cameron Ortis, 47, is charged with violating the Security of Information Act

Most Read