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Lawsuit filed over allegations child with autism was locked in a 'seclusion room' at school
Published Friday, September 14, 2018 11:31AM MDT
Last Updated Friday, September 14, 2018 1:47PM MDT
The parents of a student with developmental disabilities and autism is suing the Alberta government, and a school district in the province, after they said their son was locked naked in a so-called seclusion room, unsupervised, in 2015.
Inclusion Alberta said the son of Marcy Oakes and Warren Henschel was locked naked in an unsupervised seclusion room for an unknown length of time. School personnel reportedly checked on him, and found the young boy smeared in feces.
Staff then took a picture of the boy, and sent it to his parents telling them to pick up their son. Henschel went to the school, asked for his son to be released, cleaned him up and took him home.
The organization said the couple moved their son to another school district where he is safe, and treated well. Inclusion Alberta said the parents did not agree to the actions school staff took, and the procedure was not part of their behaviour support plan.
The parents have filed a lawsuit against the unnamed school district and Alberta Education for the incident.
The province’s guidelines prohibit the use of seclusion and physical restraint in schools, but Inclusion Alberta said those rules had not been enforced.
Education Minister David Eggen released a statement in response to the incident.
“I’m very concerned with this situation and student safety must always be a top priority,” Eggen said. “Seclusion rooms should only be used as a last resort and I will be convening a working group of parents, teachers and advocates to develop a new set of guidelines for all Alberta schools to follow. This work will begin as soon as possible.”
Inclusion Alberta has launched an online survey in an effort to find out if other students with disabilities have been secluded or physically restrained in Alberta schools.