Something to consider as our children head back to school this year…
Children often assume you are aware of everything that happens to them at school. If they are restrained and/or secluded they may assume that you are aware. Alternatively, they may feel shame or guilt for “getting in trouble” and not want to tell you if they are restrained and/or secluded. Of course, we know that restraint and seclusion is often not properly reported, and reporting requirements vary from state to state. This means that restraint and seclusion can and does happen without parents being aware.
If you have a child with a disability, a minority or a boy they are much more likely to be restrained and/or secluded. You may want to communicate with your child proactively, and let them know your expectations. Let them know that they should communicate with you if they are physically restrained and/or secluded by teachers or staff. Let them know that you don’t support the use of restraint and seclusion. Let them know that you love them, support them and want to make sure they are treated with dignity and respect.
Remember that behavior is communication. Listen to what your children tell you whether it be their words or their behavior. Be aware of warning signs, whether symptoms of trauma or physical injuries such as unexplained bruises or scrapes. Trust your instincts and if you think something is happening at school that should not be you should investigate, ask questions and be vigilant. We can make a difference if we stand up and stand together. We can and must do better for our children!