|Department of Ed Seeks Review of Seclusion, Restraints Policies|
|Written by Ryan Gray|
|Wednesday, 05 August 2009 00:00|
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Education Secretary Arne Duncan sent a letter last week to chief state school officers asking them to review current policies and guidelines regarding the use of restraints and seclusion techniques used on students and to develop or revise them accordingly to ensure safety.
In May, the Government Accountability Office published a report that highlighted allegations of abuse and the potentially deadly misapplication of seclusion and restraints used to discipline behavior problems, many of whom have behavior issues tied to disabilities. While the report focused on classroom usage of seclusion and restraints, there have been cases of school bus drivers and/or aides who have duct - taped students to seats or tied them to fences after bus egress as they await a chaperone to escort the student to class.
Duncan's July 31 letter urges the states to work with the Department of Education to publicly share their efforts in order to increase awareness and transparency, to disseminate best practices, and to provide state resources for appropriate implementation and to hold school districts accountable for adhering to guidelines. The letter notes that the Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, a center funded by the Department of Ed, is ready to provide technical assistance, and that staff from regional comprehensive centers will be contacting states to discuss the status of each state's efforts in this area.
Previously, the use of seclusion and restraints by drivers has been a state or local training issue. But that has changed now that the issue is on the federal radar. Attorney Peggy Burns of Education Compliance Group told School Transportation News that school buses could now be viewed as an extension of the classroom, especially in those cases when students with severe disabilities present extraordinary behavior issues.
Dr. Linda Bluth, NAPT's incoming president, said specific language should be included on each child's IEP that addresses the process of using appropriate child safety restraint seats, and that a child's behavioral issues must be considered. For example, a safety vest may exacerbate a certain condition. It's not a unilateral decision to be made by transportation but one that should include input from the entire IEP team, including a licensed behavioral specialist as needed.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 October 2009 17:24|