By Vanessa Broadbent
A proposed policy for School District 53 addresses the potential need for physical restraint and seclusions in schools within the district.
The policy is one of three that the district has placed under review.
The draft policy states: “in exceptional circumstances, where the behaviour of a student poses imminent danger of serious physical harm to self or others including school personnel, and where less restrictive interventions have been ineffective in ending imminent danger of serious physical harm, physical restraint or temporary seclusion may be required.”
The policy is intended to support the Ministry of Education’s provincial guidelines for physical restraint and seclusion.
“The Ministry is acknowledging that in rare circumstances, physical restraint and seclusion may be necessary if the student is in danger of harming self and others and they provide guidelines as such,” school trustee Rachel Allenbrand said.
“As a district, our policy recognizes the same.”
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The provincial guidelines define physical restraint as “a method of restricting another person’s freedom of movement or mobility – in order to secure and maintain the safety of the person or the safety of others”; seclusion is defined as “the involuntary confinement of a person, alone in a room, enclosure, or space which the person is physically prevented from leaving.”
Both are intended to be used in the least restrictive manner possible to retain respect for student rights and dignity.
Also under review is a new draft Trustee Professional Development Policy, which shares support for covering expenses for trustees’ professional development, and revisions of the district’s Special Education.
Changes include retitling the policy to Inclusive Education, and including language that states the board’s support for an education system where “students with diversity are fully participating members of a community of learners.”
The policies can be reviewed at sd53.bc.ca. A response form is available online and feedback will be accepted until November 28.