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.
Does it surprise you to know that there is no federal law around the use of restraint and seclusion in schools across the United States? Does it surprise you to know that children are injured, traumatized, and die being restrained and secluded in schools in the United States every year? Does it surprise you to know that there are far better things that we can be doing to support children in our schools?
The We Warned Them campaign is an intersectional grassroots campaign pushing for regulation, oversight, & ultimately an end to the “Troubled” Teen Industry or “TTI”. In order to provide lawmakers and other organizations with a clear sense of the issues youth experience within this industry, we created the following questionnaire. Our goal is to gather statistical information about the experiences of youth enrolled in these programs.
Often it can be hard to remember things related to trauma (probably because the data is stored ‘in the back of the mind’ in the cerebellum rather than the prefrontal cortex). My earliest memory of abuse/neglect was as a toddler and I was left outside or locked in a room by myself sometimes for hours. Other times I was punched, kicked, shoved, spanked for no apparent reason. At age 7, I was left on a deck on a lake, unable to swim for a few hours. Without a shirt, I ended up incurring 2nd-degree burns.
My son is autistic and has a significant intellectual disability. He attends middle school in a self-contained classroom. Recently, we learned that one of his classmates was physically restrained by staff 33 times in a period of 8 weeks — at least once to the point of unconsciousness — without report to the child’s parents. My son and all the students in the classroom witnessed this and have been significantly traumatized by it. We are very grateful that the parent of this child shared with us this information when she was finally informed. Otherwise, we might never have known what our children had been exposed to, or why they were showing such signs of distress.
A parent recently shared with me a functional behavior assessment student interview form that was sent home for her son to complete. The form, pictured below included five questions for the student to complete: What do you think would help you improve your behavior? What do you think should be the consequence for the misbehavior? … Continue reading What’s the problem with this functional behavioral assessment interview form?
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