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A Follow Up to Our Statement Regarding the Passing of Trenton High School Student Landyn Ferris

Please note there are hyperlinks in this letter. A PDF version is available here

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Hamilton, Ontario - June 5, 2024

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Read our previous statement here

Yesterday, CityNews journalist Cynthia Mulligan tweeted a photo of the room that Landyn Ferris was allegedly found unresponsive in. It was reported as a "sensory room". When properly designed, equipped and used appropriately, a sensory room offers disabled, autistic and neurodiverse individuals a safe space to self-regulate and meet their sensory processing needs. Sensory rooms can be used as respite from an overwhelming environment or be utilized therapeutically to work on motor planning, balance, focus, communication, etc. They are not meant to be used as punishment, and students aren't supposed to be left unattended.

This did not look like a sensory room.

This looked like a seclusion or isolation room.

Proponents say the use of seclusion rooms is justified to prevent "agitated" and "aggressive" students from harming themselves and others. However, there is no data to support the use of seclusion in a school setting. In fact, research shows that their use is detrimental. Not only can seclusion increase the chance of injury and cause significant trauma to students and staff, but it may lead to increased aggression and more frequent "challenging" behaviours.

We agree with the United Nations that the use of seclusion violates basic human rights.

Families have been sounding the alarm about the use of seclusion rooms in schools for years. Back in 2019, former MPP Michael Coteau introduced Bill 160 that called for the Minister of Education to "establish policies and guidelines with respect to the use of seclusion and physical restraints in schools."

Unfortunately, that bill did not make it past the first reading. It did not need to take a tragedy like this to call for change again.

The entire public education system needs to be overhauled. School boards and educators should not continue to use outdated methods that are ableist and not neurodiversity-affirming.

There are better ways to work with children. We should be considering proactive solutions, and not rely solely on compliance-based methods and crisis management. We are available at any time to meet with the Ministry of Education to discuss exploring better ways of accommodating students with diverse needs.

For more information, please contact our team at 

Balance Support & Self Care Studios was created with parents and caregivers of individuals with diverse needs in mind. We recognize the value of the staff and community. We are committed to striving for excellence through inclusiveness, team collaboration, quality of services, and the participation and contributions of volunteers and community members. To learn more, please check out our website 

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