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]
I drove my 5th-grade son, Caleb, up to a historic brick building on a brisk, sunny March morning. I told Caleb that this was the first school built in the district, and promised to look up the year it was built after the tour if the school director didn’t know.
Schools are telling us year after year that children are becoming increasingly more violent. In fact, they use this to justify restraint, seclusion, mass suspensions, expulsions, and zero tolerance policies. Many children have the word ascribed to them in their IEP documents as early as Kindergarten. Yes, we are expected to believe armies of violent 5 and 6 year olds roam the halls of our schools. Violence, along with words, like “challenging,” “disruptive,” “mal-adaptive,” “lacks empathy,” “defiant,” “vandalism,” “dangerous,” and “aggressive” are routinely used to describe children. Sounds absurd, right? These words are disproportionately used on neuro-divergent and black children, especially boys. Any mother of a black, brown, autisic or ADHD child has heard these words used about our children often. Those of us who are neuro-divergent or in a marginalized race hear the negative messaging about us not just at school, but in media, film, and from every imaginable source we are bombarded with these vicious stereotypes.
Kindergarten and First grade were challenging. My son, who is biracial and autistic, was suspended regularly and I took him out of school for the last two months of Kindergarten, as they were unable to support him. By the end of First Grade, he spent most of his days working one on one with an aide, at a table in a corner of the hallway. He was fine with this arrangement, but being publicly isolated is not ideal. Sometimes he ran out of the classroom, and once or twice he left the building, ran around, and came back in. School staff made it clear that if he left the campus, which was next to a busy street, they would have no choice but to call the police to get help catching a 6-year-old child.
Today’s guest author is Jennifer Abbanat. Jennifer is a wife and mom to 3 kids ages 18, 16, and 13. Jennifer is an advocate and voice for her neurodiverse children. She and her family live in Northern California.
Today’s guest author is Carole Reardon. Carole is an advocate and parent from Billerica Massachusetts. Currently, she is a stay at home mother, however, she spent over 20 years in the education field and has an undergraduate degree in human development, with a minor in early childhood education. Additionally, Carole has a Master’s degree in curriculum and … Continue reading Advocating for change in Billerica Massachusetts
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