Recommendations for Legislation
What follows are recommendations that you can take to your elected representatives to improve the restraint and seclusion legislation in your state.
Bans and prohibition
- A complete ban on the use of seclusion in all public, nonpublic, and private schools.
- A complete ban on the use of mechanical, supine, and prone restraint in all public, nonpublic, and private schools.
- A complete ban on the use of chokeholds or any form of restraint hold that can impact a child’s ability to breathe freely.
- A complete ban on the use of corporal punishment in all public, nonpublic, and private schools.
- Prohibition of the use of physical restraint except when necessary in an emergency where the child’s behavior poses an imminent danger of serious physical harm to self or others and other interventions have been ineffective. The use of restraint should be discontinued as soon as imminent danger of serious physical harm to self or others has dissipated.
- Prohibit the inclusion of restraint as an educational or therapeutic component of a student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP).
Reporting and Notification
- Each public, nonpublic, and private school shall submit to the state department of education a report for the prior school year on the total number and the unduplicated number of physical restraint incidents. The data should be disaggregated by the student’s jurisdiction, disability, race, gender, age, and type of placement. The report shall indicate any steps taken to reduce the use of restraint during the reporting cycle.
- Same day parental/caregiver notification shall be provided for any student that has been physically restrained. A detailed written report should be provided within 48 hours. The detailed report should include information related to the type and duration of restraint, the staff involved, staff training certification information, the antecedent to the event, other interventions attempted, and a post-restraint evaluation assessment that documents any physical injuries sustained during the restraint.
- A child that is restrained shall be offered a trauma assessment by a qualified school psychologist before returning to school. A plan should be developed to help the child recover from potential trauma.
- The State Department of Education shall develop a single authoritative online restraint reporting database system to track instances of restraint at each public, nonpublic, and private school in the state. The data from this system should be used to generate an annual report and provide data to the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights.
- The State Department of Education shall create an annual report to share with the state general assembly and the public that contains disaggregated restraint data for each public, nonpublic, and private school. In the report, the state department of education shall make specific recommendations as to how to reduce the use of restraint statewide.
- The State Department of Education shall create a restraint task force composed of diverse stakeholders. The Task Force shall make recommendations to reduce and eliminate the use of restraint and compile data regarding school discipline to inform strategic planning, guide statewide and local decision making and resource allocation, and measure the effectiveness of statewide and local policies and practices.
- The State Department of Education shall create a process by which parents, caregivers, teachers, and staff can share concerns and/or file complaints about the use of restraint in their schools. The State Department of Education shall be responsible to investigate all complaints and ensuring that school staff is complying with all applicable state laws.
- All public, nonpublic, and private school staff are required to complete eights hours of training in crisis prevention techniques annually.
- Create a mandated certification process for educators in teaching programs to learn and be evaluated on the use of alternative strategies to restraint, grounded in neurodevelopmentally informed, trauma-sensitive, biologically-respectful, relationship-based ways of understanding, and supporting students.
- Promote and encourage the use of inclusion classroom settings.
- The State Department of Education shall consult with representatives of institutions of higher education and the Teacher Education Board with respect to the training requirements for teachers and administrators. The consultation should identify and remedy any gaps with respect to evidence-based, neuroscience-aligned interventions, strategies, and support, and trauma-informed interventions consistent with professionally accepted practices and standards for persons entering the field of education.
Table of Contents
- Advocacy Toolkit
- The Issues
- Quotes from Self-Advocates
- Quotes from Diverse Stakeholders
- Model Legislation
- Demystifying the Legislative Process
- What’s Your Story?
- Resources/Allies to Know
Download PDF version of the toolkit