Restraint and seclusion are crisis management strategies that are used in many schools across the nation and the world. Physical Restraint, is exactly what it sounds like, it is a personal restriction that immobilizes or reduces the ability of a student to move his or her torso, arms, legs or head freely. Seclusion is the involuntary confinement of a student alone in a room or area from which the student is physically prevented from leaving. These interventions are dangerous and have led to serious injuries and even death in students, teachers and staff.
According to federal guidance restraint and/or seclusion should never be used except in situations where a child’s behavior poses an imminent danger of serious physical harm to self or others, and restraint and seclusion should be avoided to the greatest extent possible without endangering the safety of students and staff. The important wording here is “serious physical harm”, these measures are not intended merely for unsafe situations, but rather to situations that could result in death or serious bodily injury. As such based on federal guidance restraint and seclusion should be exceedingly rare. However, it has been found that restraint and seclusion are occurring far more frequently in schools across the nation and are not always limited to situations that involve imminent serious physical harm. [Read More]
Join me in welcoming Alexa Zagorites to the Alliance Against Seclusion and Restraint team. Alexa’s daughter Gigi has faced seclusion & restraint within a classroom setting since 2008. Since her daughter was diagnosed with a chromosome disorder when she was two years old it has been my Alexa’s life mission to not only protect Gigi but any other person who’s different by societal standards.
I am a special education teacher of 15 years and have seen and experienced many challenging behaviors in children with disabilities. For many years, my job was working with severely disabled students. In the past year, I have been working with children with lower support needs. These are academically capable students some of whom might be considered twice-exceptional. Many of my co-workers contend that these children should “know better” when it comes to challenging behavior. I am required to be trained to restrain and write behavior intervention plans.
I often tell people that when our son Cole was born thirteen years ago with Down syndrome, that he flipped our world upside down in the best way. His love of life and ability to appreciate the moment is something we can all learn from. He has always been a loving, kind and funny little boy, just as he was when he was ten years old and started to be restrained and secluded at his school in Central Massachusetts.
Advocates and activists track legislation for a few reasons. Usually, mission driven, we seek strategy that has worked in other regions of the country in order to propose solutions to the issue we wish to impact.
Max Benson was only 13 when he died in a Sacramento, California hospital in November of 2018. A day earlier, after school employees allege that he spit on a classmate, school staffers had responded by holding him in a face-down restraint for an hour and 45 minutes, according to court records. He never recovered.
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