Seclusion rooms to be banned in Alberta by start of next school year

Seclusion rooms will be banned in Alberta when children head back to school after summer break.

Education minister David Eggen will issue a ministerial order next week to put a ban on the controversial practice for the upcoming 2019-20 school year.

“As I have stated, I am deeply concerned by some of the things that parents and students are sharing about their family’s experiences with seclusion rooms,” Eggen wrote Friday to a working group reviewing the practice.

‘We can and must do better for our kids. That is why I am making the move to ban the use of seclusion rooms in Alberta through a ministerial order. This means that all seclusion rooms must be decommissioned by the 2019-2020 school year.”

Eggen told the working group he would also ensure mechanisms are in place to hold school authorities accountable to government for decommissioning seclusion rooms.

​In October, Eggen formed the working group of parents, teachers and other experts to create guidelines on the use of timeout and seclusion rooms.

The review was launched after a Sherwood Park couple sued the government. They say their 12-year-old son was found covered in his own feces when he was locked in a seclusion room.

Last week, the mother joined Inclusion Alberta, an advocacy group for people with disabilities, at a news conference where they criticized the draft guidelines and called for a ban.

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