Use of Restraint and Seclusion Under Scrutiny in Virginia, Connecticut

May 28, 2018 by

By Christina Samuels –

Legislation that would regulate the use of restraint and seclusion in schools has cleared both the Virginia House and Senate, with the latest vote coming just a day before a governor-appointed child advocate in Connecticut released a report saying that schools and teachers need more guidance on alternative methods of handling student behavior.

Restraint and seclusion is most often used with students who have disabilities, according to data collected by the U.S. Department of Education. About 12 percent of the nation’s students receive special education services, but students in special education represent 75 percent of the students who were physically restrained during the 2011-12 school year, and 58 percent of those who were secluded, which is defined as “involuntary confinement of a student alone in a room or area from which the student is physically prevented from leaving.” (Seclusion is distinguished from “timeouts,” which involve “the monitored separation of the student in a non-locked setting, and is implemented for the purpose of calming.”)

The Virginia legislation requires the state board of education to adopt a policy consistent with the Education Department’s guidance on restraint and seclusion. That document outlines 15 principles for schools to follow, including making every effort to restrict the use of restraint and seclusion; a ban on mechanical restraints or chemical restraints; notifying parents each time their child is restrained or secluded, and never using restraint or seclusion for punishment or discipline, coercion, or as a convenience.

Source: Education Week

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