News on Physical Restraint and Seclusion

News on Physical Restraint and Seclusion


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Links to News Stories and Other Reports Related to Restraint and Seclusion

January 4, 2016: Washington Post
A video surfaced this week of a North Carolina police officer “picking up a high school student and slamming her to the ground,” he was placed on paid leave. The local police department says Officer Ruben De Los Santos “was responding to a fight that broke out between two female students.”
January 2, 2016: The Cedar Rapids (IA) Gazette
An attorney in Iowa City, Iowa has filed a complaint with the state Department of Education alleging that the local district’s “use of seclusion rooms for agitated students violates federal law because many parents don’t know about the small enclosures and the rooms are being used more broadly than intended.” The lawsuit also alleges that “black students were disproportionately put into Iowa City seclusion rooms in 2013-14.”
August 17, 2016: Legal Clips
The mother of a student, who suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and oppositional defiant disorder, has filed suit on behalf of her son. The suit alleges that Marion Junior High School staff locked him in a small room for extended periods of time. The suit contends that J.P. was locked in the room “when there was no therapeutic necessity to do so, where he posed no risk to the safety of himself or others.” The suit also states that while J.P. was inappropriately placed in the closet, on one or more occasions no supervising adult remained within two feet of the door and no supervising adult maintained sight of him.
August 8, 2016: Legal Clips
A U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights’s investigation found that a California School District violated an autistic student’s rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. An elementary school student who suffers from autism, anxiety, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, was physically retrained 92 times over an 11-month period. In addition to the “severe,” “pervasive” and “persistent” use of face-down “prone” restraints, OCR found that the student was secluded for hours in a room he could not leave. OCR investigators determined that the student regressed academically and became suicidal.
August 9, 2016: Courier-Journal
Kentucky’s Jefferson County Public Schools will test a new pilot program called Ukeru: The ‘Least Resistance’ Approach to Crisis Intervention Training. Ukeru emphasizes avoiding violent acts instead of having to block them, but that it also teaches it is better to block a violent act than to move forward and try to stop it and that such blocks are better done with a soft object than with a body part. The school board on Tuesday approved a contract of up to $23,950 with Grafton School Inc. to train 60 JCPS employees.
August 5, 2016: Education Week
At least five Kentucky districts had trained staff in Aikido Control Training to physically restrain students. Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt warned districts this week that the technique may put students into harmful positions banned under a state law.
July 6 , 2016: Richmond Times-Dispatch
In the last few years, Alex Campbell has become an advocate for regulation of restraint and seclusion. The issues of restraint and seclusion of children are close to Alex’s heart because of his own experiences. In 2011, during first grade, Alex – a talkative, inquisitive child on the autism spectrum – was dealt with by the principal of his school by subjecting him to multiple instances of restraint and seclusion. His principal would force him into a converted closet and slide the teacher’s desk across the door, blocking Alex from leaving the closet, he said.
May 11, 2016: Legal Clips
A former student has filed suit against Jackson Public School District, its board of trustees, and Superintendent Dr. Cedric Gray, reports Courthouse News Service, alleging that school officials at Capital City Alternative School (CCAS) routinely handcuff students to fixed objects where they were forced to eat lunch and unable to use the restroom for extended periods of time.
April 9, 2016: Times Herlad
“A group of bills [in Michigan legislature] introduced in early March will make secluding or restraining a student illegal outside of emergencies situations, and require training and consistent reporting when it happens. Local school districts say they’re already following state policy limiting the seclusion or restraint of students, and have few to no reports of said occurrences”, although “some argue that doesn’t mean students aren’t being restrained or secluded.”
April 11, 2016: Washington Post
A school officer was fired at the San Antonio Independent School District after being caught on camera body-slamming a 12-year-old female student. Superintendent Pedro Martinez said in a statement that “We understand that situations can sometimes escalate to the point of requiring a physical response; however, in this situation we believe that the extent of the response was absolutely unwarranted” and “We want to be clear that we will not tolerate this behavior.”
April 4, 2016: CBS News
Two employees of a residential treatment center for troubled teens in Lake Villa are charged in the death of a 16-year-old resident following a struggle while attempting to get him to his room. The teen died of asphyxiation due to restraint.
January 17, 2016: WDRB
A substitute teacher is suing the school, claiming she was fired after recording a security officer restraining a 12-year old student. Now the parents of the student say they plan a lawsuit as well, saying their daughter was mistreated. The child's parents are thankful the substitute didn't delete the video, "Because if she didn't film this, this stuff would keep going on in schools and it could get worse."
January 7, 2016: The Kansas City Star
Parents plan to voice their concerns about school isolation rooms at the districts next school board meeting. Including, a mother of a 6-year-old who attends Mill Creek and states “Parents are furious that the school has an isolation room, and most parents are not even aware that it exists [and] we just don’t feel like this is a proper tool for this school.” Video included.
May 13, 2015: Helping Alex Blog
This mother's blog post portrays the abusive use of a "focus room" or seclusion room with her 9 year old son, Alex. Unfortunately, this story is not unique and Alex's mother calls for a raise in awareness of these issues.
January 5, 2016: Education Week
Hillary Clinton supports the Keeping All Students Safe federal legislation which would regulate the use of physical restraint and seclusion in schools. She also endorses early screening for autism.
December 20, 2015: The Washington Times
The article focuses on the experience of Greater Albany Education Association leader Sue McGrory in Oregon, who has received over 100 emails from teachers since the school year began asking for advice about how to deal with “out-of-control” students who throw chairs or tantrums. McGrory says appeals to school administrators are often ineffective, “We’re losing countless hours of instructional time. What we are doing is not working."
October 13, 2015: Legal Clips
The Register-Guard reports that the grandfather/guardian of a disabled student has filed suit in Lane County Circuit Court against Springfield School District (SSD), alleging that staff at Riverbend Elementary School used the “scream room” after the student acted out in class.
October 13, 2015: Legal Clips
A federal district court in Alabama has ruled that school resource officers (SRO) that used chemical spray on students who were accused of minor offenses and offered no resistance to being detained (seized), violated those students’ Fourth Amendment right to be free from excessive force.
October 6, 2015: Legal Clips
According to an Associated Press (AP) report on WLWT 5, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a "Statement of Interest" in a suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of two disabled students handcuffed by a school resource officer (SRO) at a school in the Covington Independent Public Schools District (CIPSD).
October 1, 2015: Education Week
A federal judge rules incidents of Birmingham, Ala., police officers using a mix of pepper spray and tear gas to spray students in school who were resisting arrest or posing a threat to others to be unconstitutional excessive force. The Southern Poverty Law Center lauded the ruling as a victory for those concerned about harsh police involvement in routine school-based discipline.
August 20, 2015: Education Week
A video of a Kentucky school resource officer handcuffing an 8-year-old boy was released earlier this month by the American Civil Liberties Union. Restraint and seclusion in schools, particularly when used with students with disabilities, has been a simmering national issue for years, with this video bringing the issue up for debate anew.
May 11, 2015: West Hartford (CT) News
Connecticut officials are looking to change the law and improve staff training to cut the usage of restraint and seclusion in schools after a February report indicated “significant concern” regarding the usage of the measures on autistic and disabled children.
April 25, 2015: The Seattle Times
House Bill 1240 will make clear that restraining or forcibly secluding any student — including special-needs children — is illegal in schools except in emergencies when serious harm to another person seems imminent, or parents explicitly agree to it.
April 21, 2015: The Houston Chronicle
Wyatt reports that a bill to make “public schools legally liable for student safety” passed the Colorado state Senate on Tuesday, “after an emotional debate about whether the measure would reduce shooting attacks or just invite lawsuits.” The piece notes that few states give “express permission for victims to sue schools for negligence.” Frank also covers this story in the Denver Post. The bill was named after Claire Davis, a 17-year-old student killed in a school shooting at Arapaho High School in 2013.
April 17, 2015: Disability Scoop
A plan to rewrite the nation’s primary education law is set to go before the U.S. Senate and it now includes a provision related to restraint and seclusion in schools. The amendment would require states to put policies in place to prevent “any physical restraint or seclusion imposed solely for purposes of discipline or convenience.”
August 7, 2014: Legal Clips
U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights’ investigation found that the Prince William County Public Schools’ (PWCPS) frequent use of restraint, seclusion, and removal from classrooms of students with emotional disabilities amounted to a “one-size-fits-all” approach to behavior management that took away instructional time and did not account for individual student needs.
August 7, 2014: Legal Clips
Adoptive parents of child have filed suit against the John Glenn School Corporation (Glenn) and the Joint Educational Services in Special Education (JESSE) for the elementary school officials’ use of an “isolation box” to calm the student.
February 13, 2014: NSBA Legal Clips
The Connecticut Department of Education reports that children with autism were the most frequently subjected to restraint or seclusio in Connecticut schools in the 2012-13 school year.
April 28, 2013: Star Tribune
Outbursts at school are sometimes punished with physical restraint and solitary confinement.