Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Agency
Department of Education
Board
State Board of Education
chapter
[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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4/19/19  9:59 pm
Commenter: Sharon R Tropf

Restraint and Seclusion
 

The use of Restraint and Seclusion is overused and under-reported and has no place in Virginia's public schools.  School divisions consistently looking for ways to not report the use of seclusion, while ignoring the trauma it causes to our students.  Virginia should put plans in place to eliminate the use of Restraint and Seclusion and should at a minimum follow the U.S. Department of Education’s non-regulatory guidance titled: Guidelines for the Development of Policies and Procedures for Managing Student Behavior in Emergency Situations and the Fifteen Principles contained in the Restraint and Seclusion Resource Document. 

Need to include the following:

  • Restore language explicitly prohibiting prone restraints.
  • Eliminate language that allows for the seclusion of students during investigations of a violation of the code of student conduct. 
  • Clarify that restraint and seclusion may be used ONLY when necessary because of an “imminent threat of serious physical harm to self or others.”
  • Eliminate the exclusion of “incidental, minor, or reasonable physical contact or other actions designed to maintain order and control” from the purview of the regulations
  • Amend “notification and reporting” requirements to ensure that any meeting between the school and the student must include a parent or guardian. 

Provide for evidence-based training for all staff and the use of trauma-informed classrooms.  Research and best practice show us that when staff is trained, there is no need to seclude children from their peers. Restraint and Seclusion go against PBIS that is supported by the VDOE.  PBIS states that if Restraint and Seclusion need to be used, the schools PBIS system is failing. 

The regulations appropriately allow for ‘time out’ which provides a space for the child to gain their composure when needed. The Board should promote the training of staff in de-escalation techniques, in the provision of proper evaluations of children’s behavior through Functional Behavior Assessment and the implementation of a child’s Behavior Intervention Plan. Seclusion rooms should not be relied upon by staff and used as a behavioral practice but rather, they should be provided the training and resources necessary to eliminate seclusion as a practice.