Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Problematic Lack of Uniformity Among State Restraint & Seclusion Policies

Posted by Rachael Ballard Filed under: *Hot Topics*, Compliance, Courses

This is not a new issue, but districts around the country repeatedly have faced litigation over the use of unnecessary or improper restraint and seclusion techniques, particularly with special education populations. In its On Special Education blog, Education Week discussed a recent report by Jessica Butler, the congressional affairs coordinator for the Autism National Committee.

In “How Safe is the Schoolhouse? An Analysis of State Seclusion and Restraint Laws and Policies,” Butler established that 22 states have “meaningful” restraint and seclusion laws that apply to all students, and 34 states have such laws that apply specifically to students with disabilities. To Butler, a state has “meaningful” laws if they “prohibit the use of restraint and seclusion except to prevent injury to the student or others,” or “offer multiple protections against restraint and seclusion.” (Report: More States Adopting Restrictions on Restraint and Seclusion, March 27, 2015)

The report goes on to say that although the increasing number of states passing laws around restraint and seclusion for both general and special education populations is worth recognizing, the lack of consistency among the laws passed is still problematic. If a student were to move from one state to another, his or her protection against inappropriate or improper restraint and seclusion is not uniform.

As state governments and the U.S. federal government work to make restraint and seclusion laws more uniform across state lines, the deployment of the PublicSchoolWORKS “Restraint & Seclusion training” course as part of your staff training requirements can help meet mandates. As part of the Student Safety, Wellness and Social Responsibility catalog, the 20-minute course addresses:

  • The definitions, purpose and techniques for restraint, seclusion and time-outs
  • The seven-phase acting out cycle, including phase-specific tips for intervention to decrease the likelihood that the conflict will escalate to the peak stage.
  • The use of preventative tactics such as functional behavioral assessments (FBAs), behavioral intervention plans (BIPs), and positive behavior intervention and supports (PBIS) strategies to proactively address behavior issues before they become problematic.
  • How improper use of restraint and seclusion has endangered students and led to legal issues for the educator and the district.

Contact today to learn more about how your district can become trained on the correct uses of restraint and seclusion, as well as alternate de-escalation techniques.

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