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From December 1-3, we're celebrating the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Film festivals will be held in 5 locations across BC. Stay tuned for details!

Watch our 60th Anniversary video that honours and remembers the civil rights history of people with intellectual disabilities in BC. Read more about our history here.

Our new report shows the continued systemic use of restraint and seclusion in BC schools. Read more.

Important information about Restraint and Seclusion in BC schools

We all know it’s not okay to hurt or bully a child in school. What if you saw a student in a school being dragged down the hallway by 2 adults and placed in a small room without windows?

What if the door was locked? What if the child inside was screaming and crying? What would you think? What would you do?

When we heard about things like this happening in schools, we at Inclusion BC wanted to know if this was more than an isolated incident so we sent out a survey through our networks to find out.

What we found out shocked us. It will shock you.

A total of 308 people from across BC responded to our survey. Most were parents or legal guardians of students with special needs.

Over 200 respondents reported that a variety of restraints and seclusion (being isolated in a small room and prevented from leaving) were being used in BC schools, on students ranging in age from 5-19 years old. Things that were reported to us included:

  • Physical holds

  • Straps and other physical restraints

  • Dragging

  • Wrestling hold with pressure

  • Physical pushing

  • Star hold performed by 3 adults on a child – 4 point takedown

  • Verbal abuse while being forcibly held in a chair

What was just as disturbing, but unfortunately not surprising, was that 25% reported physical injury to the child and 75% reported emotional trauma.

We also wanted to know how families found out about their children being  restrained and secluded. Most - 72% - found out through someone other than the school. If not for the concern of others, they likely would not have known since communication is a common challenge for students with special needs.
As a parent of 3 children, I cannot imagine the anger, distress and panic I would feel if this had happened to any of my children in school or anywhere else. I am outraged to know it is happening to any child in any school.

First and foremost, Inclusion BC’s objective is to end the use of restraints and seclusion in schools. It’s just wrong for kids to be hurt and bullied in school.

We also know there is more to a school than the students who attend it. So our second objective is to lead the development of solutions by:

  • Hosting a series of public events to talk about our survey, bringing together educators, parents and advocates.

  • Working with education leaders and experts in BC and across Canada to provide training and access to sound and practical information on progressive alternatives.

  • Supporting parents to be involved and knowledgeable about their child’s school program.

  • Working with the Ministry of Education to begin tracking the use of restraints and seclusion in BC schools and develop new legislation that prohibits its use.

  • Gathering more information and research on how to prevent the use of restraint and seclusion in our schools.

Ending the use of restraints and seclusion couldn’t be more urgent. Kids are being hurt as I write this to you.

Each of us is called upon to take a stand when things are wrong. Each of us also has a responsibility to be part of the solution.

You can help by joining us in calling for the end to the use of restraints and seclusion and by making a donation to Inclusion BC to support this urgent and important work.


Faith Bodnar
Executive Director
Inclusion BC

YES, I want to help end restraint and seclusion in BC schools. Click here to make a donation