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Standards Lacking For Restraint Training In Schools

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As the use of physical restraint rises in many schools, questions are being raised about the loose regulations surrounding the companies that train staffers and the techniques they employ.

Typical restraint training for teachers and other school staff is conducted over a series of days, often by private providers with backgrounds in fields ranging from martial arts to psychology. Trained staff then return to their schools to teach colleagues the methods they have learned.

Last year, federal lawmakers considered a bill that would have required such training to be limited to evidence-based techniques. But the legislation was never heard by the U.S. Senate, so there is no national standard.

As a result, the techniques used — often with students who have disabilities — vary wildly, as does the level of follow-up instruction. Advocates say this can lead to situations where staff members are unprepared and incidents are mishandled.

“Right now, there isn’t any oversight of whether the districts are using a good company or they are following up on their training,” one California special-education consultant told The (San Francisco) Bay Citizen. To read more click here.

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Comments (2 Responses)

  1. AutismInRealLife.com says:

    Maybe schools should spend more time understanding autism/behavior, educating staff about behavior, correctly performing Functional Behavior Assessments and implementing Positive Behavior Support in an effort to reduce/eliminate restraint. The bottom line though is that strong Federal laws are needed to prevent the abuse of seclusion and restraint in schools…not just better training of staff on how to do restraint. Federal law is the only way to even begin to start to end the abuse of restraint/seclusion in schools.

    Personally, I would love to see cameras, with audio and video, installed in all school settings so that every instance of seclusion and restraint can be viewed by parents and authorities after an incident. This antiquated practice of restraint/seclusion is too often used as a first resort and not a last resort as the staff often reports. Video is the only way to have hard evidence as to what really happened.

    The fact is that many schools are successfully educating children with disabilities and autism without reducing to restraint and seclusion. There is a better, more humane way to educate our children without treating them like animals. Of course training staff on understanding behavior, doing FBAs and implementing positive behavior support is more expensive to implement that merely teaching restraint and building a seclusion room. So until there are Federal laws, districts will continue to do whatever they want. It is unacceptable.

  2. disabilitiesrightsadvocate says:

    As an advocate, I would say that there is a very fine line between what is and is not appropriate in regards to restraining anyone. I would agree with the last comment, that there must be a full understanding of the behaviors that students may exhibit at any given time, in order to address them without having to get physical. We hear all too often that something has gone terribly wrong and someone (usually the student or consumer) has gotten injured or even died due to a number of mishaps while someone was attempting to restrain them. Even with “proper” training, so many things could go wrong and have disastrous results.

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