|Action||Promulgating new regulation governing seclusion & restraint in public elementary & secondary schools|
|Comment Period||Ends 4/19/2019|
We need regulations on seclusion and restraint
20 years ago, after having volunteered in Sandston Elementary School in Sandston, VA, I testified to the State Special Education Advisory Committee of my research and my experience witnessing the seclusion and restraint of students. In my opinion it was unnerving for me as a person who has been a pastor to families with special needs children. It was frightening to me to learn from a FOIA request of 15 school districts across the state to learn that there were no consistent descriptions, definitions, or guidelines for seclusion or restraint. I asked for any policies that were written and in place. They were very diverse or non exisistent. I asked for information on they type of trainning that administrators and teachers had been required to undergo. There was no consistency in training. But, from the state advisory committee, I learned that a special needs school had changed to a "Mandt" training program that desescalated handing and emotional conflicts with students that reduced dramatically the number of students from 5-6 per week to 1 per month over the course of a year. I believe the state needs consistent, well defined understanding of the use and construction for safety and the well being of all students in the matter of seclusion. Because I learned also that there had been injuries and even a death in Newport News that had not come to the attention of the state superintendent because reporting procedures were shielding this information flow, that we need good data collection and monitoring. This should be a matter that advisory committees are able to access and assess as part of a public transparency.