REPORT NO. PRO-I-2J
13, 2012_ __ __ TO: The Chairperson and Members of theProgram Standing CommitteeFROM: Superintendent of EducationSUBJECT:
CONSULTATION AND REVIEW OF THE USE OF FOAM PADS(BLOCKER SHIELDS) ____________________________________ 1. Background
At the March 28, 2012, regular meeting of the Board, it was approved that the Boardrefer the issue identified by the SEAC motion as set out in Report No. D-3-a, SpecialEducation Advisory Committee - Time Sensitive Motion – March 19, 2012, (APPENDIXA) to senior staff to review the concerns raised regarding the use of blocker shields withstudents, to consult with SEAC, parents, staff, and the Joint Health and SafetyCommittee, and to seek input from community partners and to prepare a report updatingthe Program Standing Committee in June 2012.
2. Current Status
Concerns regarding the use of foam pads were first expressed in March 2012 when aphotograph taken anonymously of staff carrying the foam pads while accompanyingstudents on a regular community excursion was shared with a media member andposted to Twitter and then shortly afterwards shown at the March 19, 2012 SpecialEducation Advisory Committee Meeting.Staff has used different forms of foam pads since the spring of 2010 to support safetyfrom time to time involving a small number of students in a small number of schools. Thevast majority of students with special needs, including those with autism acceptresponsibility for a safe learning environment and are held accountable for their actions.However, a very small number of students have uncontrollable behaviours that aredirectly related to their diagnosed medical, neurological or developmental condition and,in some cases, these behaviours can present an on-going safety risk, including a risk ofinjury to themselves or others.The provision of special education programs and services to students by school boardsis subject to the
Ontario Human Rights Code
Canadian Charter of Rights
, which protect students from discrimination on the basis of disability. The
requires that students with disabilities be accommodated to the point of unduehardship in the provision of educational services, such that each student must beprovided with an individualized program, that maximizes the students’ integration withpeers and respects the student’s dignity. Boards accommodate students by providingindividualized programming and instruction from qualified, trained staff, in anenvironment modified to meet the student’s needs.The
Occupational Health and Safety Act
require that employers(school boards) and supervisors (school principals) assess risks to safety regularly andrespond to reduce risks for all students and staff. This might require providing workers(school staff) with the training and procedures to help control the identified risks.