Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann issue the following release on banning seclusion rooms:
David Khan stated, “Alberta Liberals believe the continued misuse of these rooms should end today. Education Minister David Eggen waiting another seven months is deplorable. The NDP Government is taking one step forward and two steps back.
“Our continuing concern is the ban will not take effect until September. That means this NDP Government will continue to expose the most vulnerable young Albertans to this draconian practice for the rest of the school term. That is unacceptable.
“Alberta Liberals urge Education Minister David Eggen and the NDP Government to amend its decision and immediately end the continued misuse of these rooms. There is no evidence that seclusion rooms help students. In fact, they cause long-term harm to some of our most vulnerable.
“We have been pushing for this decision for months. The NDP Government finally agreed with the Alberta Liberal policy position. It is the right action to safeguard vulnerable Alberta school children and to remove this barbaric activity from our school systems. We wonder what took this Government so long to respond to the demands of parents and concerned Albertans.”
David Swann said, “We called for more stringent rules and mandating clear reporting practices last fall. We helped concerned parents organize a demonstration on the steps of the Legislature. We put forward our recommendations for a ban. Finally, the NDP Government responded, but it should have acted much sooner.”
Khan continued, “A seclusion room should never be used to correct behaviour or punish. Schools must be provided the resources to protect students and staff from physical harm. The only way to maintain safety is to properly support teachers and schools with adequate funding for more teachers and educational assistants. In addition, resources must be provided to ensure students with disabilities can be properly included in our public school systems.
“Advocates were right to demand a ban from the NDP Government. We will continue to work with these concerned Albertans. Our priority is to monitor the misuse of these draconian practices rooms until September. We will vigorously hold this Government to account on this important issue.
“True inclusion should be a priority for this NDP Government. It IS a priority for Alberta Liberals.”