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.

WCPS

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.”

STAR

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.



jordie.dwyer@ponokanews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Wolf Creek Public Schools

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Barrel series comes to an end

Winners finally awarded in after months of waiting

230 new COVID-19 cases reported over the weekend

City of Red Deer has nine active cases

Conservatives call for Trudeau to testify at committee on WE Charity deal

Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion is already investigating whether Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Quebec police continue search for father, one day after missing girls found dead

Bodies were found in a wooded area of Quebec City suburb

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Father and his 9-year-old son rescued off of Miquelon Lake this weekend

Wetaskiwin/Camrose RCMP and EPS Air 1 rescue father and son on Miquelon Lake.

Canadian professional chuckwagon racer reflects on cancelled season

This year would have marked Troy Dorchester’s 28th year of racing.

Crowds in Sylvan Lake “commonplace” during summer months

The Town of Sylvan Lake looking for solutions from Province for large crowds not social distancing

Look out, Mars: Here we come with a fleet of spacecraft

Three countries sending unmanned spacecraft

Canmore RCMP respond to multiple hiking injury calls this weekend

EMS and RCMP responded to three separate and unrelated hiking accidents in Kananaskis Country.

Most Read