|Action||Promulgating new regulation governing seclusion & restraint in public elementary & secondary schools|
|Comment Period||Ends 4/19/2019|
Paid a Fortune to avoid the Seclusion Room
I am the parent of a Norfolk City resident daughter who has been identified as both gifted, and disabled, with an IEP for Autism. In the spring of 2016, after years of successfull inclusion, the Norfolk Public Schools recommended a Private Day Placement to a VDOE licensed Private Day School which utilizes a seclusion room.
My wife and I toured this school and were horrified to see that there were footprints on the inside of the seclusion room door, where some desparate child tried to kick their way out. At the end of our tour, there was a child screaming at the top of his lungs from the part of the building where the seclusion room was, indicating a probable use of that room with panicked protest from the child.
Since this was the only private Autism program the City contracted with at that time, we felt legally forced to parentally place our child our child in another VDOE licensed school for Autism, which does not have a seclusion room, and which is utilized extensively by the Cities that border Norfolk. While our child is reasonably successfull there, we have lost tens of thousands of dollars from tuition and have defaulted on crucial financial obligations during that time.
Unfortunately, I have not been able to protect my child from restraint in the public or private schools. The bruises and scratches from these events will heal, but she will never forget those experiences. Therefore, restraint has caused my child to have a hatred of school and a fear and mistrust of the adults that mandate that she attend school.
The behaviors that my child has are absolutely normal and consistent for a person with autism, and do not, in the least, bother my child. That is why its a disability. This does not, however, justify the use of seclusion, which is a form of prison to an autistic child, or restraint, which is a form of abuse or torture to an autistic child.
I have experiences as a father, conversations with another child who was placed in a seclusion room, and conversations with an adult who had suffered broken bones from restraint as a child. These have all led me to the same conclusion, which is that the elected legislators of the Commonwealth of Virginia are codifying seclusion and restraint law which will phisically and mentally harm numerous children, who's only crime is to have a disability. Please do not continue to permit Restraint and Seclusion, for the welfare of our children.