The Burlington Free Press ran an article today about a public school program for children with behavioral and emotional disabilities. Coming on the heels of last week’s CNN.com piece about the overuse of “time-out” rooms, this is a welcome shift:
So two years ago she established a program that offers students counseling, mentoring, tutoring and a place to calm down in their own school. She stopped sending students to private schools and did without at least five one-to-one aides. The savings: About $220,000 a year, Scheffert estimates. Equally important, she said, children who walk in the door defiantly are learning to control their behavior and feel connected to school for the first time. “They have to feel like they belong,” Scheffert said.
I note that the story does say this school has an “intervention room,” and a therapist on staff trained to use physical restraint “if needed.” I’d like to know what kind of physical restraint, and how often it may be needed. I’d also like to hear from some parents and students. But based on the article, It does sound like a more comprehensive set of behavior modification methods are available to students in this program than just banishment to a time-out room.
Like many stories on a newspaper websites, the reader comments are illustrative. To put it gently, there seems to be some disagreement as to whether children with behavioral issues belong in public school at all.
For those who are interested more in the seclusion issue, Liz Ditz at the I Speak of Dreams blog has compiled a good set of links.
A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.