Tracking Exclusion: Interim Report

Since September 4th, 2018, BCEdAccess has been collecting data on the exclusion of students with disabilities from schools in BC. It is our intention to highlight some of the systemic issues so that districts may start looking at this data themselves and work on solutions.

TRACKING EXCLUSION: BCEdAccess’ Exclusion* Incident Report Form

In this, our first interim report, we note that all grades, from K-12, are represented by survey respondents. Here are some of the findings so far:

Districts:

35 out of 60 districts have reports of exclusions

What does this mean? It’s hard to say, but probably this is more about the survey’s reach than anything. If we were to do more outreach in the unrepresented districts we might see more exclusion. What it does tell us is that this is not an issue that’s isolated to only a few districts. Some of the more populated districts have a larger piece of the pie chart, but this could be due to over-representation – it’s hard to ascribe the results to any one district having more or less successful outcomes.

The takeaway? It happens everywhere, in urban and rural districts, it’s not rare and it’s not unusual.

How many people?

As of this writing we’ve had 228 reports. But this doesn’t tell the whole story.

The majority of the submissions are a single report documenting repeated instances of exclusion. In future surveys we will need to add something to the design to allow better tracking of this.

We made the attempt to tally the single instances of daily exclusion. It was difficult to be precise, but the number is over 1200.

What kind of schooling?

96.8% public school and 3.2% independent school

For comparison, overall independent school enrollment is 12.9% of all students in BC.

Is your child designated?

5.4% of respondents said their child is waiting for assessment.

What are the designations of the other 94.6%? Highly varied.

Categories A, C, D, E, F, G, H, P and Q all represented

Category descriptions:

  • Level 1
    • Physically Dependent (A)
    • Deafblind (B)
  • Level 2
    • Moderate to Profound Intellectual Disability (C)
    • Physical Disability or Chronic Health Impairment (D)
    • Visual Impairment (E)
    • Deaf or Hard of Hearing (F)
    • Autism Spectrum Disorder (G)
  • Level 3
    • Intensive Behaviour Interventions or Serious Mental Illness (H)

H (Students Requiring Intensive Behaviour Intervention) has by far the highest representation at 65.4%

How much time was missed?

This was very well covered by BCCPAC in their report of last year. They surveyed over 800 parents and documented clearly just how much educational time has been missed by students not attending full days of school. Here is their report:

Students With Special Needs Not Attending Full Days

Here’s how it looks so far in our survey:

hours of exclusion

This pie chart requires some discussion. By far the largest category is ‘Other’, at 35.7%.

All but 2 of those who chose “Other’ indicated they chose it so that they could cite either multiple days of exclusion, or an issue that is continuous and ongoing.

This leads into why children are being excluded. Below is just a sampling of the types of exclusion cited.

There are multiple examples of each type of exclusion listed:

-Being asked not to bring their child for the first one to four weeks of school

-Is only allowed to attend 2 hours per day

-Is not allowed to attend until there is an EA in place

-Missing a half day weekly

-excluded because of bullying or other safety concerns

-If parent can attend, child can attend, but if not, child cannot attend as there are no supports

-can only attend a short part of the day; no plans to extend the time because there is no staff

-Not enough funds to support child full time

-Excluded from every field trip so far

-Excluded from all extra-curriculars

-Excluded from course because the course materials are not adapted

-Excluded from elective high school courses

Often we hear from school districts that these exclusions are mostly agreements with parents. I suppose they can say this because parents often do agree. Here’s the thing, though:

a) Most parents don’t know it’s an option to refuse, and b) Many parents cited feeling ‘forced’ into agreeing to the exclusion, and only some of them are actually appealing the decision. In the main, parents are more apt to try to work collaboratively with the school, in the meantime disrupting things at home to find a way to make these shortened days or unexpected exclusions work.

Was the child’s usual support personnel absent?

personnel absent

We had expected to see here that the most common answer was yes.

In fact, the two biggest answers were ‘No’, and “My child has no usual support personnel’.

What this tells us is that the usual staff are there, there just aren’t enough of them. And that 35.1 percent of children being excluded have no support personnel at all.

Was your child physically restrained?

Inclusion BC has done 2 reports on this issue at this point – Stop Hurting Kids 1 and 2. Read them here:

Stop Hurting Kids

Their surveys indicate that not only does seclusion and restraint happen alarmingly frequently, but that there has been no great change over a 5 year period. This requires urgent attention.

Our survey shows, so far, that 4 percent said yes, their child was restrained.  That’s 9 children (out of 228) too many.

Also worrying is the 19.2% of respondents who said ‘not sure’. With some children being nonverbal or having other communication deficits, it’s hard to know for sure what is happening at school.

Is there anything else you would like to include?

There was a great deal that respondents wanted to add. Many were more specific descriptions of the circumstances of their child’s exclusions. Some took the time to say how important the relationship with the school team was to them, and they expressed their fear of jeopardizing that by complaining. Mental health concerns feature prominently.

At the beginning of the school year and even as recently as last week, respondents are still waiting to hear about potential supports for their children – EAs and also technical supports, programming, and learning resources.

I’m going to finish up this report with just a few of the quotes from the 228 respondents. They speak for themselves.

“When I dropped my child off at school, I was asked to take them home, because my child is Deaf-blind, and there would be no one there with my child”

“My child has never had any real education”

“I think it sucks they don’t have placement for kids who need assistance until the second week, which basically forces the parents to keep the child home until they have a placement”

“They left it up to me to send him or not which is wrong. I would not be a responsible parent if I were to set him up for failure. But they seem to be taking their time and leaving the follow up to me which is wrong as well.”

“Desperate to find an advocate to convince the principal together with me, with the experience of special need rights to deal with the the principal.”

“According to school staff they are not funded enough to support our son full time.”

“Just because a child is well behaved in the classroom doesn’t mean he should miss out or be left to flounder academically in the classroom”

“We’ve been told there is only enough funding to support my daughter with an EA 50% of time”

“This family is under severe strain and I am very worried about them.”

 

 


10 thoughts on “Tracking Exclusion: Interim Report

  1. What a powerful and concerning report!

    Just a quick note or question – were there no Category G kids excluded (autism)? I find that quite surprising.

    Keep up the great work!

    Andrea

    _________________ Andrea Kennedy Mobile: 604-230-4609 ________________________________

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  2. Thank you for conducting this survey. Sadly, I believe these stats represent all of BC even if most surveys were submitted by Vancouver area residents (please correct me if I’m wrong Tracy). The FB comments are important to read as well.
    The 2018 BCEdAccess Conference was inspiring and very informative. I am from rural BC and was very fortunate to be able to travel to the conference. For all those who can’t manage to get to Vancouver, do you think there will be opportunity for a BCEdAccess event to be offered in the interior eventually?

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    1. Hi Teresa, 35 districts, both rural and urban, from all over BC. I’m glad you were able to make it! We’ve just now formed a not for profit society, and figuring out how to offer more in the interior and the north are on the agenda!

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  3. I have multiple special needs children, I found the survey was a little confusing did not seem to include this as an option for filling out. Also 3 are finished school, and so it wasn’t clear if the survey was about them or not. The other thing that is not brought up is we as parents are required to screen the people that work with our kids in the home and off school time, yet at school, our children are subjected to workers that might not be a good fit. They are placed with our kids and us as parents usually have no say in the matter. Constantly fighting for your children is exhausting. It frustrates me to no end that basic rights are not being respected and it’s “just the way things are” due to funding/short staffing/ etc.
    Thank you for putting this out to the community, our voices feel so very small in the school system. It’s nice to have the advocacy and feed back that surveys like these ones promote.

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  4. I have multiple special needs children, I found the survey was a little confusing on that issue and did not seem to include this as an option for filling out. Also 3 are finished school, and so it wasn’t clear if the survey was about them or not. The other thing that is not brought up is we as parents are required to screen the people that work with our kids in the home and off school time, yet at school, our children are subjected to workers that might not be a good fit. They are placed with our kids and us as parents usually have no say in the matter. It frustrates me to no end that basic rights are not being respected and it’s “just the way things are” due to funding/short staffing/ etc.
    Thank you for putting this out to the community, our voices feel so very small in the school system. It’s nice to have the advocacy and feed back that surveys like these ones promote.

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    1. Thanks for the feedback! We may adjust for future versions. If you have multiple issues in the meantime please do fill it out for each one.

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  5. Thank you for The survey and organizing this conferences that I find very helpful. I’m sure with the experience and comments they will be improving every year. All this knowledge will help to create a strong advocacy for our children.
    Keep up the good work.
    Thank you

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  6. Thank you for the survey. Wondering if the survey is mostly elementary school children or high school. I have a special needs child in category C. She has a full time EA at the moment (at a private school). But will attend public high school next year. Wondering if high school is similar. Thank you.

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    1. I would encourage you to join our Facebook group for peer support. The survey notes that every grade is represented from K to 12. Please email us at bcedaccess@gmail.com if you would like access to the support group.

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