Should California teachers be allowed to physically restrain kids?

Dec 23, 2018 by

Autistic teen restrained at school, dies 2 days later

It’s a scenario that sounds more likely in jails than schools: Arms pulled behind their back, a person is forced into a “prone restraint,” pinned face down on the floor with limbs held immobile by at least two people.

Melissa Lasater pulled her son with autism from Guiding Hands school after the death of a student. She has been trained in prone restraint techniques, which she demonstrated for The Bee. She and her son tell us why they left the school.

But prone restraints are regularly used in California schools, often on students with special needs such as those on the autism spectrum — and at a higher rate on black students, an analysis of federal data by The Sacramento Bee found.

Next month, California state regulations on the use of prone restraints on students will change, limiting them to emergency situations. Current law allows them to be used too often as punishments or as a behavior modifier on hard-to-handle kids, critics said. Even with the new law, disability rights advocates and some parents worry that the intensely physical interventions will continue to be used often, and present the possibility of harm to kids. Some would like to see them banned in schools altogether.

The controversy over prone restraints drew attention last month when a thirteen-year-old boy with autism, Max Benson, died after being held in the position at Guiding Hands School in El Dorado Hills. Since then, more than 20 parents have pulled their children from the private school, which multiple school districts in the region contract with to provide services to special education students, according to officials.

Source: Should California teachers be allowed to physically restrain kids? | The Sacramento Bee

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