(Pixabay.com)

Kids still being locked up, held down in B.C. schools: advocacy group

Inclusion BC says 170 parents, guardians reported their kids had been restrained or secluded

An advocacy group says children in B.C. are still being held down and confined in locked rooms, despite calls to change how educators address student behaviour.

Inclusion BC says it surveyed 170 parents and guardians who reported their kids had been restrained or secluded during the 2016-17 school year, and the vast majority of the students had special needs.

Faith Bodnar, the group’s executive director, said they heard about a child who was put in a plastic storage bin, another who was tied to a chair, and students who were locked in seclusion rooms for up to three hours.

The findings released Wednesday follow the group’s 2013 report on how restraint and seclusion were being used to address student behaviour in B.C. schools, which prompted calls for change.

Bodnar said she’s shocked that the practices continue without clear guidelines, and she’s wants the province to ban restraint and seclusion, except when personal safety is at risk.

Children in poverty: Breakfast programs help children focus on school

Education Minister Rob Flemming said he has reviewed the report and the government will make sure all school districts implement guidelines by the end of the year.

The provincial government brought in guidelines in 2015 aimed at helping school boards create policies for seclusion and restraint, including training for educators.

The Inclusion BC report says only one in three school boards across the province has policies in place. Creating clear, mandatory guidelines is necessary to protect children, Bodnar said.

“There are no regulatory standards for them,” she said. “There’s no oversight.”

The report also says only 19 per cent of caregivers surveyed reported that the school “always” or “usually” informed them of a restraint. All incidents should be documented and communicated to parents, Bodnar said.

Flemming said clear lines of reporting are needed between teachers, school districts and parents.

The incidents highlighted in the report are not isolated, Bodnar said, and “really severe, awful things” are happening to children at B.C. schools.

Flemming said the situations are “exceedingly rare,” but it’s disturbing that they happen at all.

“As a parent and as an education minister, I’m very disappointed to hear that there are individual stories that have been compiled in this report that are, frankly, unacceptable in a B.C. school setting,” he said.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Armed Forces in town, two new fires near Cherryville

Area restrictions expanded, firefighters equipment stolen

Ash falling in the Okanagan

Reports on social media of ashes on cars around the Okanagan

Kamloops volunteers say needle buyback program working

Make presentation to Vernon council; claim to have collected 7,000 needles at $.05 per sharp

Armstrong ready to Cram the Cruiser

Music in Armstrong’s Memorial Park Aug. 24 to benefit local food bank

Kin Beach cleanup extends to OKIB land

City of Vernon taking over cleaning Sandy Beach

Snowy Mountain fire travelling away from communities

The Snowy Mountain fire near Keremeos remains at 13,359 hectares in size

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former Shuswap optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

Kelowna developer warns home buyers to look at more than the price tag

Kelowna developer Jeffrey Anderson wants first-time homeowners to look at more than the price tag.

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

Most Read