Students with special needs in BC still face seclusion, physical restraint in schools - Canadanewsmedia
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Students with special needs in BC still face seclusion, physical restraint in schools

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A new report from the advocacy group, Inclusion B.C., claims routine restraint and seclusion of children with special needs in schools hasn't improved much since its previous report in 2013 led to new guidelines — prompting the provincial education minister to promise new guidelines for schools by the end of the calendar year.

It says the impact of the practice in schools includes "profound, lasting emotional and/or physical trauma" for students.

"Families and others across the province continue to report disturbing incidents and patterns of conduct, inadequate staff training and support and a systemic lack of oversight and accountability," reads the report, titled Stop Hurting Kids II.

The report, released on Wednesday, is based on a survey of 170 people who self-identified as parents or guardians of a student who was subjected to restraint or seclusion in the 2016-2017 school year.

Types of physical restraint

According to the report, forms of restraint include students being pinned to a wall with a beanbag, tied to a chair, forced into a Rubbermaid tote, carried or dragged and pulled by a collar. The restraint allegedly took place in a range of settings from the playground and classroom to the principal's office.

Inclusion B.C. said the majority of reported restraint cases lasted less than 15 minutes, but six survey respondents said it lasted more than an hour.

Faith Bodnar, executive direction with Inclusion B.C., said the findings are disturbing.

"It creates a culture in a school that's not safe for anybody. It doesn't encourage belonging and inclusion, it actually encourages exclusion and separation," she said.

Bodnar also said the treatment can be scarring for any student.

"[It can lead to] sometimes physical, emotional and psychological trauma," she said. "Especially for the kids with special needs but also the kids that witness it."

Nearly 60 people who responded to the survey said the student had "experienced emotional injury or pain as a result of seclusion."

Upon learning of the incidents involving restraint, the report found 75 per cent of caregivers raised concerns with the school, but 97 per cent of those who did were unsatisfied with the response.

Parents and guardians also reported a lack of communication about incidents involving their children, with 48 people saying the school rarely or never informed them, and 86 people saying they never received a written report about their child's seclusion.

'Emotional injury or pain'

Inclusion B.C. said that 11 school boards in the province had relevant policies before its 2013 report, and only nine more had adopted or revised policies since the province introduced guidelines in 2015.

On Wednesday, Education Minister Rob Fleming said the government would be implementing new guidelines for every school district in B.C. by the end of the year in light of the report.

"We're going to act on this really quickly," he said.

"These are exceedingly rare situations, but they're disturbing that they happen at all."

He also said the government would be speaking with teachers and considering more classroom support.

"I think we expect teachers to go into classrooms and do a tough job every day," Fleming said.

After the report's release, B.C. Teachers' Federation President Glen Hansman said he agrees with the report's recommendations to increase support in schools.

"The kind of concerns reported in Inclusion B,C.'s report do not reflect the public education system we want, nor what happens in the vast majority of schools on a day-to-day basis," he said in an emailed statement.

Parents and guardians also reported a lack of communication about incidents involving their children, with 48 people saying the school rarely or never informed them. (Shutterstock/iChzigo)

"Restraint and seclusion should only be used in specific circumstances to protect the safety and well-being of students, teachers, and staff."

Hansman said safety plans aren't always communicated properly to teachers — especially those on call — which sets the student up for problems.

"The challenge teachers face while working with students who may be prone to physical outbursts, like hitting, kicking, spitting, or biting, is that safety plans are not always properly communicated, or staff are not given adequate in-service training."

With files from Justin McElroy


Follow Rafferty Baker on Twitter: @raffertybaker

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Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur to make court appearance in Toronto

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TORONTO – A man accused of killing men associated with Toronto’s gay village appeared briefly in court today.

Bruce McArthur was remanded in custody until June 22 for what is expected to be another short appearance.


READ MORE:
Toronto police to start searching more properties linked to Bruce McArthur this week

Dressed in an orange jumpsuit, McArthur said little during the short appearance via video link.

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He looked downcast while his lawyer and Crown set the new date.


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Case of alleged Toronto serial killer Bruce McArthur put over to May 23

The 66-year-old self-employed landscaper was arrested in January and charged with the murders of Andrew Kinsman and Selim Esen, who went missing from Toronto’s gay village in 2017.

Later that month, he was charged with the first-degree murder of Majeed Kayhan, Soroush Mahmudi, and Dean Lisowick. In February, he was also charged in the death of Skandaraj Navaratnam.


READ MORE:
Toronto police end search of alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur’s apartment

In April police charged Mcarthur in the death of Abdulbasir Faizi, who was reported missing in 2010, and days later charged McArthur in the death of Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, who came to Canada from Sri Lanka and was not reported missing.

Police have so far recovered the remains of seven men from large planters at a Toronto home where McArthur worked and stored his equipment.

Police say cadaver dogs — including some from York Region police — are sniffing out about 100 properties both inside and outside Toronto, all with ties to McArthur.

VIDEO: New details about latest victim of alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur






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Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur set to appear in court Wednesday

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Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur is expected to make a court appearance by video on Wednesday morning.

The 66-year-old landscaper is facing eight counts of first-degree murder in connection with the disappearances of a number of men, most of whom had ties to Toronto’s gay village.

McArthur was arrested and charged in January with first-degree murder in the deaths of Selim Esen, and Andrew Kinsman, both of whom went missing in 2017.

Last week, police finished an intensive search of McArthur’s Thorncliffe apartment, where they seized 1,800 exhibits and took more than 18,000 photographs. Police have found the dismembered remains of at least seven people in large planters at the home of one of McArthur’s clients.

Toronto police said earlier this month that the investigation has entered the next phase, with the use of cadaver dogs to search properties linked to McArthur.

McArthur last appeared in court on April 25.

with files from Star staff and The Canadian Press

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Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur to make Toronto court appearance

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Bruce McArthur, the alleged serial killer charged with eight counts of first-degree murder, is set to make a court appearance by video link in Toronto on Wednesday morning.

Toronto police have said they don't plan to lay any new charges.

McArthur, a 66-year-old self-employed landscaper, has been charged with eight counts of first-degree murder in connection with the disappearances of a number of men, many of whom were connected to Toronto's Gay Village.

He's accused of killing the following men: Skandaraj Navaratnam, 40, Andrew Kinsman, 49, Selim Esen, 44, and Abdulbasir Faizi, 44, Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, 37, Dean Lisowick, 47, Soroush Mahmudi, 50, and Majeed Kayhan, 58.

McArthur is accused of killing these eight men. Top row, from left to right, Skandaraj Navaratnam, 40, Andrew Kinsman, 49, Selim Esen, 44, and Abdulbasir Faizi, 44. Bottom row, from left to right: Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, 37, Dean Lisowick, 47, Soroush Mahmudi, 50, and Majeed Kayhan, 58. (CBC/Toronto Police Service)

Police just finished a months-long, inch-by-inch search of McArthur's apartment, which they said netted more than 1,800 pieces of evidence.

Police still searching

Meanwhile, cadaver dogs are searching dozens of properties across the city where McArthur worked.

Police also plan to do more digging at a home on Mallory Crescent, near Toronto's Don Valley, where the dismembered remains of several men were found hidden in large garden planters.

Investigators said they have identified the remains of seven men, but not Kayhan's.

Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga, who is leading the investigation, has said police don't know how long the probe will continue.

McArthur, who was arrested on Jan. 18, remains in custody at the Toronto South Detention Centre in Etobicoke, in suburban Toronto.

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