Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

Crunching the Numbers on Restraint & Seclusion

Posted by Rachael Ballard Filed under: Courses, Student Violence, Student Well-Being

Restraint and seclusion have been controversial topics in the education industry for years. When used incorrectly, students can suffer long-term physical and mental side-effects. The federal government has made several attempts to draft legislation to specifically regulate the usage and reporting of these practices, but nothing has passed. To get a better sense of the restraint and seclusion landscape in the U.S., the Education Week Research Center analyzed data collected by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Education Week published an article summarizing its investigation here.

A few highlights from the investigation include:

  • Nearly 70,000 students covered under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act were restrained or secluded in 2013-14. These students account for more than 200,000 incidents of restraint or seclusion.
  • One out of 5 districts had students who were restrained or secluded in 2013-14.
  • Four out of 5 students with disabilities who are restrained or secluded are males.

However, advocacy groups and news organizations, like Education Week, have found large undercounts in the data. The lack of a federal mandate leaves states to create their own policies on when to use restraint and seclusion techniques and how to report usage, which leads to inconsistent data – or none at all.

Just like with any other school safety concern, staff training, consistent reporting, broad communication to all stakeholders, and analysis of reports for trends are crucial for prevention and mitigation of risk during restraint and seclusion.

Our Restraint and Seclusion online safety training course is part of our Student Safety, Wellness and Social Responsibility Catalog. The online course defines different types of restraint, including chemical, mechanical, physical and prone restraint, as well as seclusion and timeouts. The course also covers when and how to use restraint and seclusion properly; how to prevent conflict and crises; de-escalation techniques; and how to use functional behavioral assessments (FBAs), behavioral intervention plans (BIPs) and positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) to avoid the use of restraint and seclusion techniques.

Our Student Behavior Management System makes it easy for staff to record behavior in the classroom, including incidents that may lead to the use of restraint and seclusion techniques. Once a behavior report is submitted, an administrator is notified to investigate and assign the appropriate consequence for the student, if appropriate. All behavior reports are stored online, in a comprehensive database of all behavior, including incidents that led to the use of restraint and seclusion techniques. Administrators can then analyze these reports to see if there are any triggers that may have led to a student’s escalation in behavior. Knowing what triggers a student to behave poorly allows the educator to create and use prevention tactics, thus helping them avoid having to use restraint and seclusion techniques.

To learn more about how your district can better train staff and report incidents of restraint and seclusion, contact today.

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