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]
The following is the partial transcript of an interview with Ron Garrison in early 2018. Mr. Garrison is a retired educator with experience at all levels of the educational sector. He holds a master’s degree in school safety and has been an expert witness in more than eighty-five cases involving restraint and seclusion.
You arrive at the school and check-in. A secretary escorts you to the conference room. You enter to find a group of people already seated around a long rectangular conference table. Some of the individuals you recognize but some you do not. You take a seat and your child’s teacher says “let’s get started.” You are at your first I.E.P (Individualized Education Plan) meeting. You are not sure what to expect but trust that the people in the room are there to make sure your child receives all of the services needed for success. I mean, we are all on the same team with the same goals in mind, right? In a perfect world, the answer is yes. Unfortunately, this is seldom the case.
Is your child being restrained or locked in a room at school? A plea to New Brunswick’s Candidates – 2020 Election
In an era where global protests continue as a result of the inhumane treatment that led to the death of Mr. George Floyd at the hands of Police, similar Restraints, and Seclusions that equate to solitary confinement, continue to happen to children in schools in New Brunswick. Restraint and Seclusion room practices against even our most vulnerable children, are supported by some Districts under the current Minister of Education, who has personally told me that he doesn’t have the power to put an end to this.
As many kids begin to head back to school in-person or start distance learning for the 2020-21 school year, there is a lot of attention and focus on what kids will need, and what will be important for them to be successful. Many teachers/educators are wondering how to create an environment that will best support the students academically; while some will go a step further and wonder how to support their students’ social and emotional health, whether it is in person or online.
Today’s guest author is Diane Gould. Diane is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Board Certified Behavior Analyst with a private practice outside of Chicago. She is also the founder of PDA North America.
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