Indiana. IPS introduces new policy allowing limited force by teachers to break up fights

This policy is being implemented in response to a recent incident where a female student was attacked, thrown against lockers. Students had to break up the fight because teachers were prohibited from intervening due to school policy.

In light of this incident, the IPS has reconsidered the advisability of this policy stating,

“We need a policy to ensure that we can create administrative guidelines and procedures around how staff is involved in terms of use of force,” IPS Superintendent Lewis Ferebee said

The new policy would allow use of limited force by staff members to prevent a student from injuring themselves or others, interfering with a school activity or education, or damaging property.

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HWC Spring 2015 Newsletter!

HWC News & Updates

Hello!  This HWC Newsletter focuses on the Horizon.  We will explore trends in managing challenging behavior; how science is finally catching up with what HWC has known for decades; new HWC projects and HWC’s advocacy regarding restraint regulations around the country.  We hope to inspire you to join our community.

56 % Reduction in number ofrestraints and injuries

Company experiences a 56% reduction in number of restraints and injuries one year after switching to HWC.

This experience is not unique, most schools, hospital and facilities that switch to HWC experience a 30-50% on average reduction in number of restraints and injuries.

One reason: HWC uses definitive not tentative touch.

Tentative v. Definitive Touch: How science is finally catching up with reality 

There is a distinction between tentative v. definitive touch that science is finally catching up with.  Science is finding that tentative touch overstimulates, excites  and further agitates someone whereas definitive touch creates safe-feeling, calm and secure therapeutic state of mind.  

A holding method that is tentative does not convey clear and safe parameters reflects and belies the fear, apprehension and absence of commitment of the person or people performing the hold. 

A hold like HWC’s PRT, communicates calmness and certainty and helps to reproduce a state of calm in the child and a more rapid return to emotional homeostasis and equilibrium.  In other words, a definitive touch hold performed by someone with a benign heart produces a more rapid return to a calm mind state.

Read more

Current Events: Indiana Public Schools – what happens when school policy prevents teachers from stopping fights 

A girl was attacked at an Indianapolis Public School (“IPS”) by a male student.  A cell phone video captured the attack involving a male student viciously beating a girl while a teacher watches.

The teacher never intervenes because according to IPS policy, staffers are not allowed to put their hands on students.

Find out why IPS’s policy is both ill-advised and illegal.

Read more

Wave of States looking to enact laws regarding restraint and seclusion in schools


Legislation at the Federal level to regulate restraint and seclusion in schools has repeatedly failed.  

As a result states are being lobbied by advocacy groups to pass restraint laws.  The following states have recently proposed or enacted restraint laws: VA, AZ, CT and WA. 

Contact us to request a legal synopsis of restraint law in your state.

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Want to have your services featured or articles published on Handle With Care?

Heres How –

We are launching a content cooperative that allows YOU to share your expertise, gain tons of exposure and get paid.


If you have content you want published and shared in the Education, Social Services, and Healthcare community – contact us. If your content is published on our blog we will pay you $50.

When we accept new content we reserve the right to edit, proof, produce or add graphics or images.  HWC reserves unlimited non-exclusive licensing to the content provided or will reserve copyright under a work for hire agreement.  

Currently we are especially looking for instructional articles and video in ABA, CBT, and PBIS.

We are also asking our clients for:
  • Statistics and impact of HWC’s program at your facility including restraint and injury statistics.
  • Impact of restraint laws on the number of restraints, injuries and use of law enforcement at your facility or school.
  • Testimonials
We also want to be responsive to our clients needs.  For instance, in light of the wave of state legislation, we have embarked on a Q & A Webinar series on the law and the use of restraint and seclusion in schools. We are also going to provide video showing how people who serve others in human services and education stay strong, recharge, stay engaged and care for themselves.
If there is content you would to see on our site, please contact us with your suggestions. 




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What happens when school policy prevents teachers from stopping fights: Indiana case study


A girl was attached at an Indianapolis Public School: Northwest Community High School by a male student claiming he was bullied.

A cell phone video captured a violent fight involving a male student viciously beating a girl while a teacher watches. The beating continues for under a minute, with the male student pulling the girl’s hair, throwing her to the floor and repeatedly hitting her in the face.  Students (not adults) stop in to stop the attack.

The brutal fight, recorded on video, was in the school hallway Tuesday. Students say it was just one of seven fights at school that day.

That video shows a staff member, there when the fight started, scream at the students to stop.  The teacher never intervenes physically because, according to Indiana Public School (“IPS”) policy, staffers are not allowed to put their hands on students.

Full Story

Social Media and Parent Outrage after press reported the attack


After the press reported on the attack and lack of teacher intervention, there was a public outcry in the press, social media and the community about school policy.

IPS’s Policy Preventing Teachers from Intervening is unlawful, against public policy and can get the school sued

  • Schools cannot legally discipline or fire educators or any employee for acting in a manner consistent with state self defense and defense of others law.  If a teacher defies school policy and physically intervenes in a manner consistent with state self defense law, and the school tries to discipline or fire the teacher, the school can be sued as this is a violation of the teacher’s right to defend self, others and property.  The disciplinary action is a tort and violation of the employee’s civil rights.
  • If a teacher follows school policy and a student is hurt, the school can be liable for failure to protect.
  • Schools have a duty to protect and maintain a safe educational environment. Schools have a “special relationship” with students and act“in loco parentis” for students in matters relating to school safety, education and discipline. Ingram v. Wright, 430 U.S. 651 (1977).  Thus the duty to protect and provide education rests with the school.  A policy that interferes with this obligation and fails to protect students breaches this duty.
  • Schools have a duty to train staff in foreseeable events.  Schools fights are foreseeable.  Failure to intervene in a manner that is effective to prevent or mitigate bodily injury is a tort and a breach of the school’s duty.  Either the school needs to train its teachers or it needs to have on-site personnel that is trained to intervene.  If it was not for the students in this instance, if the girl was hurt and the fight not broken up, the school would have been sued.  Failure of the adult to intervene was an abdication of adult responsibility.
  • Indiana law regarding restraint and seclusion in schools states that schools are required to train staff in the “safe use of physical restraint…”  The law also provides that “Nothing in this chapter may be construed to prevent a school employee from stopping a physical altercation, acting to prevent physical harm to a student or another individual, or acting to address an emergency… whether or not the school employee has received training under this chapter.
  • IPS schools and staff are not immune from suit if they follow a hands off policy.  Under Indiana law schools and school personnel have qualified immunity with respect to the adoption of an intervention/restraint plan in accordance with this law.  IPS’ school policy preventing teachers from physically intervening to prevent physical harm to a student or others is in direct conflict with Indiana law, and is outside the qualified immunity provided under this statute.  This means that IPS schools and employees are not immune if they follow IPS’s policy rather than State law.

See IC 35-41-3-2: Indiana defense of self, others and property laws; IC 20-33-8-8 through 20-33-8-11: Indiana Tort Law and In loco parentis

HWC’s Suggestion:

HWC cannot offer  legal advice.  We would suggest that when schools encounter conflicting laws or policies that they solicit the advice of Counsel licensed to practice in their State.  As an example, in light of Indiana’s self-defense and restraint laws, it does not appear that schools can tell teachers not to intervene when a person’s physical safety is at risk. Doing so would be a violation of the teacher’s natural and civil right to defense of self and others as codified in Indiana’s law, Indiana’s State and Federal Constitution and the Supreme Court.  Defense of self and others are non-waivable rights.  Further, Indiana’s restraint law specifically gives teachers the express ability to physically intervene when a person is in imminent danger of bodily injury.

School policies cannot contradict State law or Constitutional rights.

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FL. Jacksonville teacher suspended for not intervening in kindergarten fight

A northeast Florida kindergarten teacher named Rita Baci has been suspended for allegedly making multiple video recordings of a child beating up other children without intervening.

But some believe it’s the education system itself that makes it difficult for teachers to intervene in school fights

On three separate occasions, the teacher used her smartphone to make a video of a male student hurting others in the class. According to the Florida Times-Union, the videos show the boy smacking another boy “about his face and body several times,” kicking another student who was attempting to hide under a table, and punching and slapping a third student. The kindergarten teacher did not intervene in any of these school fights

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