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Department of Education
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State Board of Education
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[under development] Regulations Governing the Use of Seclusion and Restraint in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools in Virginia [8 VAC 20 ‑ 750]
Action Promulgating new regulation governing seclusion & restraint in public elementary & secondary schools
Stage Proposed
Comment Period Ends 4/19/2019
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3/20/19  5:33 pm
Commenter: Dena Rosenkrantz, Virginia Education Association

Proposed Regulation on Restraint and Seclusion
 

The Virginia Education Association calls for Virginia Board of Education to ensure proposed regulations on restraint and seclusion are consistent with existing STATUTES including Virginia Code sections 22.1-279.1, 18.2-57 and 63.2-1511.  State law recognizes situations in which physical contact or use of reasonable force is necessary,.  State law protects school employees exercise of judgment in the moment as to such actions.   And state law protects school employee who acts in good faith in the course of school employment without gross negligence or willful misconduct.  

VEA supports change in proposed regulation to specify actions are prohibited "to the extent they pose a significant danger in the public elementary and secondary schools of Virginia."

VEA calls for deletion of proposed language restricting action in defense of property.  State law provides school employee use of physical contact or reasonable force to protect property is not prohibited as corporal punishment, does not constitute criminal assault and is not child abuse or neglect.  Regulation on restraint and seclusion must be consistent with state law.  Further, VEA asks how limit on the ability of school employees to act to protect property could prevent school employee action when one student threatens or acts to damage items used or owned by other students.  

VEA also urges the Board to add language to final provision of proposed regulation that nothing shall be construed to modify or restrict rights, defenses and protections of school personnel as follows:

5. The rights, defenses, and protections of school personnel stated in Virginia Code sections 22.1-279.1, 18.2-57 and 63.2-1511.  The prohibited actions in these regulations shall not be deemed to prevent a teacher, principal, supervisor, or other person employed by a local school board or employed by a school operated in the Commonwealth from (i) the use of incidental, minor or reasonable physical contact or other actions designed to maintain order and control; (ii) the use of reasonable and necessary force to quell a disturbance or remove a student from the scene of a disturbance that threatens physical injury to persons or damage to property; (iii) the use of reasonable and necessary force to prevent a student from inflicting physical harm on himself; (iv) the use of reasonable and necessary force for self-defense or the defense of others; or (v) the use of reasonable and necessary force to obtain possession of weapons or other dangerous objects or controlled substances or paraphernalia that are upon the person of the student or within his control.  Prohibited actions shall not include physical pain, injury or discomfort caused by the use of incidental, minor or reasonable physical contact or other actions designed to maintain order and control. 

In determining whether actions are within the exceptions provided in this section, due deference shall be given to reasonable judgments at the time of the event made by a teacher, principal, or other person employed by a school board or employed in a school operated by the Commonwealth.

If it is determined that the actions or omissions of a teacher, principal, or other person employed by a local school board or employed in a school operated by the Commonwealth were within such employee's scope of employment and were taken in good faith in the course of supervision, care, or discipline of students, then the standard in determining if prohibited actions occurred is whether such acts or omissions constituted gross negligence or willful misconduct.