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EPSB.ca » Our Division » Board Policies & Administrative Regulations » H - Students » HAH.AR District Seclusion Rooms

District Seclusion Rooms

  • Code: HAH.AR
    Topic: District Seclusion Rooms
    Issue Date: 03/09/2019
    Effective Date: 03/09/2019
    Review Year: 2026

Objective

To confirm the District’s responsibilities as defined in Section 33.1(d) of the Education Act to establish practices and standards that prioritize the safety and well-being of students and staff within a welcoming, inclusive, safe and healthy learning environment.

To provide clear expectations with respect to the use of seclusion rooms in the District.

Definitions

Seclusion room is a dedicated area in the school intended to provide a safe, quiet and supervised space for students whose behaviour poses an immediate threat to themself and/or others. In Edmonton Public Schools, an operational seclusion room adheres to standards established for these spaces.

Sensory room is a dedicated area in the school where students can stimulate or calm their senses by engaging with a range of equipment, lighting or sounds. Sensory rooms are designed to support self-regulation and positive behaviour and can be used by one or more students at a time. Sensory rooms are not intended to be used as seclusion rooms. 

Crisis responses and crisis interventions are decisions or actions informed through training that are used by staff when a student’s behaviour is unsafe. These decisions and actions are used to ensure student and staff safety and are comprised of a range of strategies, including but not limited to: physical escort, physical hold and the use of a seclusion room.

Responsibility

Central Administration has the responsibility for:

  • managing the District’s processes to support the establishment and use of operational seclusion rooms in schools
  • ensuring operational seclusion rooms adhere to District infrastructure standards
  • maintaining a record of schools with operational seclusion rooms; this record is to be updated annually
  • oversight of the PowerSchool Seclusion Room documentation tool and data, including the submission of all required provincial reports on behalf of District schools
  • conducting routine maintenance checks of operational seclusion rooms
  • decommissioning or repurposing seclusion rooms that are no longer required to be operational
  • developing, reviewing and updating District training standards for staff
  • coordinating and delivering District seclusion room training for staff
  • maintaining a record of staff who meet District training standards. 

The principal has the responsibility for:

  • engaging with students, staff and parents/guardians around expectations and standards related to the use of seclusion rooms in the District
  • determining if the school requires an operational seclusion room
  • working with Central Administration overseeing infrastructure around logistics related to the establishment, modification, maintenance, decommissioning or repurposing of an operational seclusion room
  • ensuring that any use of a seclusion room in the school adheres to District expectations and standards
  • ensuring all staff who supervise students in the seclusion room are trained according to District training standards; a minimum of two staff members in a school with an operational seclusion room must be trained
  • ensuring parents/guardians of students with an Individual Behaviour Support Plan (IBSP) are informed of the District’s standards related to operational seclusion rooms
  • supporting staff in their work with parents/guardians around the development of an IBSP that may include the use of an operational seclusion room
  • monitoring the school’s operational seclusion room using District infrastructure standards and developing a protocol for staff to communicate possible space deficiencies to the principal.

Regulation

  1. DISTRICT PRINCIPLES
    1. When making decisions around the use of behavioural interventions, staff in Edmonton Public Schools put the safety and well-being of students and staff first. Within the school community, this is a shared responsibility between District staff and families.

    2. Staff use a strengths-based approach, professional judgment, District standards and the expectations of our legal responsibilities to inform decisions that prioritize safety in all situations.

    3. These decisions reflect a range of developmentally and age-appropriate supports and interventions and are always intended to support students towards positive and safe behaviour.

    4. Students are most successful when school staff and families work together. This includes the development and implementation of a student’s IBSP.
  2. DISTRICT STANDARDS AND EXPECTATIONS
    1. In all situations, District staff make decisions that prioritize safety, as per Section 33.1(d) of the Education Act, which states, “A board, as a partner in education, has the responsibility to ensure that each student enrolled in a school operated by the board and each staff member employed by the board is provided with a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environment that respects diversity and fosters a sense of belonging”.

    2. All operational seclusion rooms must meet District infrastructure standards.

    3. All operational seclusion rooms must be supervised by staff who meet District training standards.

    4. In addition to meeting District training standards, staff supervising an operational seclusion room must:
      1. visually and aurally monitor the student at all times;
      2. be familiar with or have access to the student’s IBSP; and
      3. ensure the student has appropriate access to food, water and bathroom facilities, when safe to do so.
    5. During a crisis response to unsafe behaviour, staff will:
      1. only use physical hold and/or escort as an intervention when the student’s behaviour poses a greater risk to safety than the risk associated with the use of physical hold and/or escort; and
      2. ensure that a student remains in a seclusion room only until their behaviour no longer poses a threat to the safety of the student and/or others.
    6. A seclusion room is never to be used as punishment, discipline, or to force compliance.

    7. When the use of an operational seclusion room is part of a plan to support a student, it must be documented in the student’s IBSP. This must include:
      1. notification to parents/guardians that the school has an operational seclusion room;
      2. all strategies, interventions and crisis responses to support the student; and
      3. a communication strategy between the school and parents/guardians regarding notification of the use of the seclusion room as a crisis response to unsafe behaviour.
    8. The IBSP must be signed by staff who work directly with the student, parents/guardians, school administration and where appropriate, the student. School staff must make reasonable efforts to obtain parent/guardian signature; the efforts to obtain parent/guardian signature must be documented in the student’s IBSP.

    9. In cases where parents/guardians indicate they do not support the use of a seclusion room for their child, the school will work with them to identify an alternate crisis response strategy. This strategy will be documented in the student’s IBSP.

    10. Staff have the responsibility to support the safety of the student and/or others; informed by their professional judgement, this may include using a seclusion room as a response to unsafe behaviour.

    11. Parents/guardians must be informed of the use of a seclusion room as a crisis response to unsafe behaviour as soon as reasonably possible, as articulated in the communication strategy in the student’s IBSP.

    12. When a student is in a seclusion room as a crisis response to unsafe behaviour, the principal/principal designate must be informed.

    13. Following the use of a seclusion room as a crisis response to unsafe behaviour, there must be a developmentally appropriate debrief with the student that includes reflecting on the circumstances leading up to the use of a seclusion room and the teaching of positive behaviour strategies. Additionally, school staff working with the student will review the circumstances to inform programming and supports that promote positive and safe behaviour.

    14. In circumstances where a student without an IBSP demonstrates unanticipated behaviours that threaten the safety of themself and/or others:
      1. the seclusion room may be used as a crisis response to maintain safety;
      2. parents/guardians must be notified as soon as reasonably possible; and
      3. subsequent to this single event an IBSP must be developed for the student.
    15. When a student self-selects to use an operational seclusion room as a strategy to regulate their own behaviour, staff will adhere to the expectations of this administrative regulation and an IBSP must be developed reflecting this self-selected use of the seclusion room.

    16. When an operational seclusion room is used to support a learning accommodation that is not a crisis response to unsafe behaviour, staff will adhere to the expectations of this administrative regulation and an IBSP must be developed reflecting this learning accommodation.

    17. Use of an operational seclusion room must be documented within the District’s PowerSchool Seclusion Room documentation tool with consideration to the following:
      1. The school will maintain a single seclusion room log that records:
        1. For every use of the seclusion room:
          1. name of student;
          2. nature of the use of the seclusion room;
          3. time the student entered the room;
          4. time the student left the room;
          5. total time the student spent in the room; and
          6. the name of the staff member(s) supervising the use of the seclusion room.
        2. Additionally for every use of the room as a crisis response to unsafe behaviour:
          1. what events immediately preceded the unsafe behavior;
          2. interventions used by staff to de-escalate the unsafe behavior prior to the use of the seclusion room;
          3. student’s behaviour while in the seclusion room; and
          4. confirmation of efforts made to notify parents/guardians as per the communication strategy in the student’s IBSP.
      2. Should a school have more than one operational seclusion room, a separate log must be maintained for each room.
      3. All records related to the use of seclusion rooms shall be retained in accordance with the District’s records retention schedule.
      4. Seclusion room documentation will be used by school staff as one source of data to inform ongoing supports and programming for students.

References

AE.BP Welcoming, Inclusive, Safe and Healthy Learning and Working Environments
CN.AR Creation, Use and Maintenance of Division Information
EA.BP Infrastructure Planning Principles
FA.BP Human Resources Framework
FBEB.AR Workplace Violence
HA.BP Inclusive Education
HA.AR Students in Need of Specialized Supports and Services
HF.BP Safe, Caring and Respectful Learning Environments
HG.BP Student Behaviour and Conduct
HG.AR Student Behaviour and Conduct
Education Act

Section 33.1(d)