AASA Releases Report: How Seclusion and Restraint Protects Students and School Personnel

The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) recently released a report entitled Keeping-Schools-Safe: How Seclusion and Restraint Protects Students and School Personnel.

Some highlights from AASA’s Report:

AASA has long opposed the prohibition of seclusion and restraint in public schools. The fact is the use of seclusion and restraint has enabled many students with serious emotional or behavioral conditions to be educated not only within our public schools, but also in the least restrictive and safest environments possible.

In response to a request from the Kansas State Board of Education for guidelines on the use of seclusion and restraint, a parent and special-education teacher anonymously submitted this letter in 2011.

To: Kansas Legislators & State Board of Ed.,

. . . It should be noted that without the appropriate use of seclusion and restraint procedures, I am 100% certain that my daughter would not have been able to stay in public school. Her “meltdowns” over the years have been intense! They include every behavior you can imagine and she has succeeded in hurting several adults and damaging property on numerous occasions. This has been an incredibly difficult journey for our family. Without the use of seclusion and restraints, Jane would have been placed out of home in a residential school setting, which honestly, would have been intolerable for me. However, there is no chance a public school could have managed her behavior without appropriate techniques.

. . .It would be disastrous for some students if seclusion and restraints were not options in public school. While I would be appalled to see any child hurt or their self-esteem damaged, those instances of abuse of seclusion and restraint should be dealt with on an individual basis. We should not punish schools and students where things are going well.

IDEA statute was never meant to restrict parents from receiving a unique, effective education plan for their child.

For these students, federal legislation that prohibits these practices from being written into an individualized education plan (IEP) or behavioral intervention plan means that school personnel are unable to work with parents to create a plan for coping with the student when their behavior becomes unmanageable. Legislation that prohibits parents and school personnel from communicating about the student’s needs and corresponding school interventions runs counter to the entire purpose of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA). If IEP teams comprised of both parents and school personnel agree the use of seclusion and restraint will enable a student to remain in the least restrictive environment possible and to educationally benefit from the teaching and services the student needs, then these techniques should be allowed to be written into the student’s IEP. The IDEA statute was never meant to restrict parents from receiving a unique, effective education plan for their child.

HWC’s Position

Not 12 hours prior to seeing AASA’s Report, HWC was advising the Wisconsin Legislature of the same thing namely that seclusion and restraint are written into a student’s behavioral plan or IEP so that teachers and clinicians can intervene and stop a student’s maladaptive behavior before the behavior escalates to the point of being seriously destructive to the student or others.

We also agree with AASA that any law, policy or regulation that would limit the professionals and persons who have actual responsibility to determine whether restraint is appropriate and in the best interest of the student is unlawful. The right to make such determination belongs to the person and professionals and person directly responsible for the student. IDEA was never intended to restrict parents in their options for developing a behavioral and treatment plan for their child.

AASA: How Seclusion and Restraint Protects Students and School Personnel