Controversy: Deacon Graham

Boy no longer sent to quiet room

Education: School district officials says locked calming rooms used only as a last resort.

Jackie Graham is pleased following a meeting with school district staff last week.

Graham had raised alarms concerning the use of a ‘quiet room’ at South Broadview Elementary to modify her son Deacon’s behaviour.

Deacon is seven, in Grade 2, and has Down Syndrome.

Graham said there is no behaviour plan or individual education plan in place yet for Deacon, “but at least we were able to come to the table and have some really important discussions and talk about where we go from here. The school has agreed to our request that this room not be used for Deacon. That was what I was hoping to get out of it.”

She said it was good the school didn’t say the room was the only option.

“We still have a lot of things to work out. There still are hurt feelings and so on but at least we’re working in a positive direction.”

She emphasized she feels badly for the teachers at the school “as I know this has nothing to do with them.”

Deacon will be undergoing a behavioural assessment, she explained, which will provide some insight on next steps.

Graham said the quiet room was used for her son the week of Sept. 21 over four days before she learned about it. She said she learned when she was called by staff to pick up her son because “the quiet room wasn’t working.”

She describes the room as about nine by seven feet, “about the size of a walk-in closet.”

A photo taken of the inside shows a mat and a bean bag chair with a blanket, all on the floor.

The school district issued a news release after Graham’s concern was raised in the media, stating that some students have a behaviour plan “developed by a team of people including the teacher, learning resource teacher, principal, education assistants AND parents, along with other professionals as necessary (for example speech-language, hearing, visually impaired, counsellors etc.)”

Part of the plan, stated superintendent Glenn Borthistle, sometimes includes a calming room.

“All schools in the district have an alternate space or a calming room for when students need a place to calm so that they can return to the learning environment. In our district, calming rooms that are currently in our schools strictly follow the Ministry of Education protocols and guidelines which exist for these spaces.”

He states students are never left alone.

Regarding Deacon: “In this particular case, when the student has been in the calming room he has always been supervised by an adult. Sometimes with the door open and an adult in the room with him. Sometimes with the door closed and the adult directly supervising him through the window on the door. In following Ministry of Education protocols, students taken to calming rooms are never left alone.”

Graham says when she and her spouse Kirk went to the school, Kirk went into the room to see what it was like and closed the door. It locked automatically from the inside, she said, with a button high up the wall to release it.

The Observer asked the school district why the door locks if students are under constant supervision.

Morag Asquith, the school district’s Director of Instruction, Student Services, replied via email.

“Physical restraint of students and use of a calming room with the door locked is always used as a last resort for our school staff and students. Calming rooms have been used for many different reasons. Calming rooms are used for students who have challenges self-regulating themselves. If the calming room is used with the locking door, a student has demonstrated behaviours that have impacted the safety of self or others. Again, this is not the norm in our schools; the use of a locked door calming room is a last resort.”


Just Posted

Shuswap’s Rust Valley Restorers team rolling onto Netflix

Mike and Connor Hall, Avery Shoaf see television show picked up by streaming service

Canada geese in the Shuswap: Beautiful milfoil eaters or poopy pests?

Numbers of geese increasing in the Shuswap to the joy of some people and dismay of others

Salmon Arm’s Sebastien Archambault joins Humboldt Broncos

Defenceman played last two seasons with Junior B Sicamous Eagles

Shuswap artists invited to bring the noise

Sound machine exhibit planned for Salmon Arm Art Gallery in 2020

Sister Speak comes home to Okanagan on world tour

Shosws in Kelowna, Vernon and Revelstoke

Drugs, cash and 11 people apprehended at North Okanagan house

RCMP executed warrant at 35th Street home for second time in a month

UBC Okanagan, Lake Country joint community pool not a reality

Lake Country residents want a community pool, survey shows

Hell’s Angel prospect back in custody after being charged with assault

The 30-year-old man now faces several additional charges

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

New South Okanagan winery will open its doors soon

Phantom Creek Estates announced its new CEO and winemaker, and completed first phase of construction

B.C. man tells judge he attempted suicide a month before daughters’ murders

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3

BCTF says class size, composition at the heart of the issue

Okanagan Rail Ride gathering steam ahead of inaugural race

The ride is a non-competitive event celebrating the Okanagan Rail Trail

Most Read