|Action||Promulgating new regulation governing seclusion & restraint in public elementary & secondary schools|
|Comment Period||Ends 4/19/2019|
Comment on Use of Restraint and Seclusion in VA
As an educational consultant that works with families in Virginia receiving special education services in public schools, it is concerning to me the number of children with disabilities on whom restraint and seclusion techniques are used. Many times the use of restraint and seclusion goes unreported to the families and to the state for recordkeeping purposes. The use of restraint and seclusion techniques often are the first choice in dealing with behaviors of these special needs children rather than providing beneficial supports such as ABA therapy, positive behavioral intervention supports or considering another placement, private or public. Many times the staff involved are not properly trained in the correct methods of restraining a person which causes injuries to self and child.
In short, I believe that:
1. Use of restraint and seclusions should only be used as a last resort for any student. Restraint should not include the use of prone restraints. All staff members, direct or indirectly involved with students, should be trained in the proper techniques for restraining.
2. Staff should be trained in PBIS, ABA, and other techniques to support children with disabilities, including those with behavioral concerns, These should be implemented prior to any consideration of using restraint and seclusion. IEPs should have more information and supports listed with goals to address behavioral concerns so that proper data can be taken and the IEP can take steps to address when progress is not made on correcting the behavior.
3. When the use of restraint and seclusion is utilized, families must be informed that day and follow up with written documentation of the incident. Information given over the phone can be sketchy and details lost. Written documentation must also be sent to the VDOE for reporting purposes for every instance. Families should be able to request records of how many times restraint and seclusion techniques are being utilized in their school and/or district.
The families of special needs students have been waiting for best practice guidelines for over 3 years. We hope that the VDOE will now take this seriously and find ways to ensure that the districts will follow the new guidelines.
Courtney E. Pugh