Administrative Procedure 223

Seclusion and Physical Restraints


The Fort McMurray School Division is committed to ensuring a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments for all children, students and staff members.  Schools that have a positive school culture promote positive behavior in children and students which can reduce occurrences of challenging behaviors that negatively affect teaching and learning.

The Division supports the responsibilities as defined in Section 33.1(d) of the Education Act, the Guidelines for Time-out in Alberta Schools and the Standards for Seclusion and Physical Restraint in Alberta Schools to establish the safety and well-being of students and staff within a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environment.


Behaviour Support Plan means a written plan that is designed to target the underlying reason for behaviour, replace the inappropriate behavior with an appropriate behavior that serves the same function, and reduce or eliminate the challenging behaviour.

Non-Violent Crisis Intervention means physical and non-physical methods to manage disruptive behavior and maintain safety for children or students and others.  Non-Violent Crisis Intervention is utilized as part of de-escalation and preventative strategies.

Safety Plan means procedures that focus on the prevention of child or student behaviours that are unsafe by staff trained in Non-Violent Crisis Intervention.  These procedures ensure the safety of staff and students and include a variety of strategies, including but not limited to disengagement, physical escort or physical restraint.

Time-Outs: shall refer to a behaviour intervention for the purposes of reducing or stopping challenging behaviour in the long-term, while seclusion and physical restraints are emergency or safety procedures that are to be used in an exceptional situation for immediately preventing harm to self or to others. 

Physical Restraint means any method of using physical contact for restricting or immobilizing another person’s freedom of movement, physical activity or normal access to their body.  Physical contact for purposes such as moving a student away from danger or breaking up a fight is not temporarily touching or holding of the hand, wrist, arm, shoulder or back for the purpose of accompanying and inducing a child or student who is beginning to act out or is slightly agitated to walk to a safe location.

Positive Behaviour Supports means a school-wide collaborative effort to design and implement strategies, practices and interventions for promoting positive social and communication skills.  It is also useful for teaching, coaching and reinforcing skills required for academic and social success.  It involves school-wide, targeted and intensive or individualized behavior supports.

Seclusion Room means a room, structure, or enclosure in a school for the primary purpose of use of involuntary confinement or isolation of a child or student where the child or student is prevented or incapable of leaving the room, structure, or enclosure without the assistance of the supervised specialized staff and/or teacher.  Seclusion Rooms are not to be used for Exclusion Time-out.


  1. The Principal will ensure that school staff have access to the appropriate specialized expertise and related professional learning in implementing positive and proactive strategies to reduce the need for Time-outs and prevent the use of Seclusion and/or Physical Restraint.
  2. The Division permits the use of Seclusion as an emergency, safety, or crisis management procedure only.   All requirements as noted in the Standards for Seclusion and Physical Restraint in Alberta Schools, Alberta Education, November 2019, must be adhered to. The  Assistant Superintendent of Inclusive Education is responsible for oversight of the use of Seclusion Rooms and/or Physical Restraint in schools.
  3. The Division expects schools to use positive behavior supports; however, permits Physical Restraint in all schools as a measure of last resort and only as a safety or crisis management procedure.  Physical Restraint is recognized as an emergency, safety, or crisis management procedure in educational settings, not as a behaviour management procedure.
  4. The Principal is responsible for ensuring adequate staff are trained in the techniques of Non-Violent Crisis Intervention and procedures in emergency situations to use Physical Restraint.
  5. The Principal is responsible to ensure that a Behaviour Support Plan is developed and implemented for all students who meet the criteria for severe behaviour.
  6. If an Exclusion Time-out is to be used as a behaviour reduction strategy for a child or student who displays challenging behaviour that negatively affects their learning or the learning of others on an on-going or recurrent basis, where possible meaningful discussions and informed written parental consent is obtained prior to use.  This procedure is documented in the student’s Behaviour Support Plan. In cases where parents/guardians indicate they do not support the use of a seclusion room for their child, the school will work with parents to identify an alternate crisis response strategy and document in the student’s Behavior Support Plan. 
  7. Physical Restraint is only to be used by staff trained in Nonviolent Crisis Intervention in situations where the child or student is in danger of hurting themselves or others.  All requirements as noted in the Standards for Seclusion and Physical Restraint in Alberta Schools, Alberta Education, November 2019, must be adhered to.
  8. Staff must complete a Physical Restraint or Seclusion Incident Report following any situation where Physical Restraint or seclusion room has been used
  9. Recurrent use of Physical Restraint is not to be a regular part of a child’s or student’s educational program.  When the use of Physical Restraint is required as a safety, emergency or crisis measure, parent or guardian consent must be noted in writing within the crisis management plan developed for the child or student.


February 19, 2020




Section 33.1(d) Education Act

Standards for Seclusion and Physical Restraint in Alberta Schools (2019)

Standards for Time-Out in Alberta Schools (2019)

Cross References:

Policy 20 - Student Conduct / Welcoming, Caring, Respectful and Safe

AP 175 Protection of Staff

AP 350 Student Rights and Responsibilities

AP 355 Student Discipline

AP 430 Role of the Principal

Form 223-1 Physical Restraint or Seclusion Incident Report